jueves, 7 de abril de 2016



Larvae of every stage,
wouldn't you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see
this our sinister, graphic scene...

If you have come to read heartwarming love stories about rescued orphan kittens, benevolent fairies, flowers in the springtime, lonely clever princesses contriving to marry their intellectual equals, cetaceans with prosthetic tails, star-crossed gay lovers, and other such emotionally harrowing tales... you should check the title of this post twice, or maybe even thrice; in this blog, you will find many other stories and pictures that suit your delicate taste.
They're either filthy, randy, or lurid. Or fill all three slots. Seriously, when have you ever underestimated the power of a dirty folktale, myth, or joke? Here are my top picks:

Origin: Old Testament, Book of Judges
Before Jaime Lannister, there was another left-handed kingslayer: Ehud, whose story can be read in Judges 3. For eighteen years, the morbidly obese Eglon of Moab had been oppressing the Israelites by extorting heavy taxes. Then, the LORD called upon Ehud ben Gera, a left-handed Benjamite whose duty was to bring his liege the Israeli tribute, to put an end to this reign of terror. Ehud made a cubit-long (about 50 cm) double-edged shortsword, made especially for stabbing (think of a rapier or a bayonet), which he strapped under his tunic to his right thigh (swordfighters wear their weapon on the opposite side from their sword hand, to make it easier to draw steel), before leaving for the royal court. Eglon's guards assumed Ehud was right-handed, and thus, they always cachéd him only on the left side. After delivering the taxes in the throne room, Ehud said: "I have a little secret for you, Your Grace." Cue a curious Eglon sending all of his servants, courtiers, and guards away to have a tête-à-tête with the Israeli diplomat in the palace privy. There, right before Eglon could sit down to "cover his feet" (Biblical expression for relieving oneself), Ehud reached with his left hand for his right side, quickly burying his blade into the oppressor's hefty girth. So quickly that his victim had no time to react, merely to think something like "He's not right-handed!" Eglon's flab swallowed the rest of the sword, hilt, haft, and pommel; as he winced and reeled, collapsing, on the pavement. "And the dirt came out," to quote the King James Bible. Yes, Eglon's rectum discharged as he died, fast as lightning (my inner coroner says that this sword must have punctured an important vein flowing through His Grace's liver). Then, Ehud locked the door and escaped through the privy, à la Ladyhawke. The courtiers and the servants thought (because of the odour) that their liege was still covering his feet and deserved privacy... but, when their wait became too long, they forced the door open and found Eglon's lifeless form sprawled on the floor, in a puddle of blood and faeces, and the Israelite gone, as if vanished into thin air. In the meantime, Ehud had already reached the hills of Ephraim and was rallying his own oppressed people to victory. Curbstomping the Moabite host like Napoleon at Austerlitz or Gustavus at Breitenfeld, Ehud ensured that Israel had peace for nearly a century.
A Shakespearean-sounding story. Sinister (in all senses of the word). Satirical. I'm a lefty myself, and reading how Ehud stabbed the obese despot makes me always feel excited.
Gore: *****
Nausea: *****
Steaminess: * (mere homoerotic innuendo)

Origin: Old Testament, 2nd Book of Samuel
History has always had a penchant for repeating itself, and the Good Book is one of the works of literature that proves this axiom the most. Centuries after Ehud's sinister, left-handed compliment, another southpaw pops up: King David's trusty sword, General Joab (or Yoav). When David's eldest son Absalom, the Original Teenage Rebel (R), has had enough of waiting for the throne and declares war on the Crown to usurp its power, Joab decides to take on his Evil Counterpart (R) Amasa, the rebel prince's lieutenant (who is married to Joab's aunt!!), mano a mano. Both military men cross paths on the wayside, when Joab greets Amasa, "How are you?," giving him a friendly kiss and caressing him right-handed... as his left-handed sword plunges into Amasa's right false ribs. The contents of the rebel general's innards spill upon the ground, and he collapses dead on the spot, as Joab turns his back on the lifeless form of Amasa lying in a pool of blood and leaves him to the crows, marching off in search of more rebels.
This story sounds even more sinister than that of Ehud and Eglon, featuring even a literal kiss of death. And again, my inner coroner says the stabbing of Amasa caused the same internal injuries as that of Eglon (even though Absalom's lieutenant was far more slender than the Moabite oppressor).
Gore: *****
Nausea: *****
Steaminess: * (mere homoerotic innuendo)

Origin: Old Testament, 1st Book of Samuel
Back when a decades younger David had already shot Goliath and won the hand of Princess Michal, he soon fell out with his schizophrenic father-in-law, who wanted to end his life, and was forced to flee the royal court for safety's sake. Out in the wilderness, Dave became a fearsome guerrilla leader, something like the Max Manus of his times, with King Saul constantly on his heels. And it came to pass once that he entered a cave where his crowned father-in-law chanced to be relieving himself. Though a raving tyrant who heard voices that drove him insane, Saul is described in the Bible as being tall and dashing, towering head and shoulders above every other Israelite. And now he had left his campsite for a while to "cover his feet" (see LEFTY KILLS HEFTY) when his sworn enemy and son-in-law sauntered by chance into the same cave. Maybe to save his skin, maybe to shelter from the storm, maybe to have a look at His Grace's taut derrière (if Saul's face and frame are said to be lovely, the same may apply to his tush). David, out of sympathy, spared his archenemy's life, merely cutting off the tail of Saul's tunic with his sword. (Later on, having lost his son and heir in the decisive battle, Saul would commit suicide on the same battlefield, making it look like he had been killed in action, and David, his successor, would always regard him as a worthy opponent). Talk about worthy opponents! For, would Saul and Dave, after the cave incident, not see one another as worthy opponents? If your enemy entered the same place where you emptied yourself with your guard lowered, and chose to spare your life and merely cut the end of your clothes, how would you react? I would see that person as a worthy opponent myself!
Gore: * (a peaceful approach)
Nausea: ** (only a dump)
Steaminess: * (if you don't see David as a peeping Tom) *** (if you do)

Origin: Norse myths
When I was a child, my dad read Andersen stories and Norse myths to me. The myths were from a book called Bland gudar och jättar (Among Gods and Giants), an illustrated storybook. I immediately fell for Loki: whether leaving Thor's wife Siv like Sinéad O'Connor, turning into a mare to seduce a giant stallion and birthing a pretty unusual colt months later... Loki, the enfant terrible of the Valhalla, had a profound impact on me. Yet the most outrageous thing he ever did I learned not from Bland gudar och jättar, but from the Swedish radio show Friggs rike (Frigga's Realm), targeting a more adult demographic. It was the episode from the Skadi story that did not appear in my Norse myth storybook. Never had I heard of Loki doing anything more spaced out. And Skadi is one of the most badass female characters in mythology I know, a warrior woman so cool and strong, whose name means literally "Hurt" ("skada" in Swedish, "Schade" in German), so this story is sure to be awesome...
In storms the giantess Skadi Thiassisdaughter into the Valhalla. Armed to the teeth, with her bow and arrows and her battle axe. White and foaming with rage. The gods have burned her father to a crisp, and she thirsts for revenge.
"Keep calm," Odin says, then tries to appease her by saying that they will make up for her late dad by offering one of them as a spouse to her.
Nearly all hot gods are married. And nearly all single gods are faulty. There is only one eligible bachelor among the Aesir, and it's Balder. Skadi has locked her target already. Yet Odin knows that he is not the perfect match for her, so he tells the young giantess she will be the one to choose her husband, but on one condition: that she has to pick by only looking at her suitors' feet.
As she closes her eyes not to see where each of them places himself, all the single gods arrange themselves in line, barefooted, behind a curtain. Skadi, when she is finally allowed to open her eyes, picks the best-looking pair of feet.
It turns out that it's a match far worse than Balder she has chosen: Njord, the god of the seaside, far older than she, who lives on the coast where the air reeks of algae and the seagulls squawk night and day. Skadi, a mountain-maiden through and through, is not amused. So she offers the gods a condition of her own: she will marry Njord only if the gods succeed in making her laugh. And she has not laughed since her childhood. (Now comes the bit that is censored in children's storybooks.)
The gods try everything: jokes, making faces, tickling... to no avail. In the end, it is Loki's turn. Surprisingly (and you know how unpredictable Loki is), he asks for a rope and one of Thor's billy goats. Once he has got both the rope and the goat (the myth does not specify whether it was Gnasher or Grinder), Loki ties one end of the rope to its goatee, then lowers his trousers (in front of the entire court of the gods!) and ties the other end around his own family jewels. The most painful, unusual, and outrageous tug of war I've ever heard of ensues. Loki must be in searing pain, at least wincing, maybe screaming like a banshee. And Skadi begins to giggle, to chortle, then bursts out into a hearty laugh when the trickster falls into her lap, having lost the tug of war.
Thus, she has no other choice than to marry Njord. Theirs is a short-lived marriage, dissolving after about a fortnight to live separate ways as divorcés due to irreconcilable differences. But I'm sure Skadi never forgot everything that Loki did to her (he even caused her father's death and started it all, in the first place). Thus, it came as no surprise that the gods, when they decided to smite Loki for all his evil deeds, chose Skadi to be his executioner. And she made sure the trickster would be in pain within the end of times: turning his two legitimate sons into direwolves and pitching them against one another, she then took Vali's and Narve's guts and used them for chains to bind Loki to a cliffside, then placed a poison snake above his head, dripping venom on the trickster and making him wince and writhe in endless searing pain (of course Loki's wife gathered the venom in a bowl, but, when it ran over, she emptied it pouring all the lethal liquid on her husband...). Indeed, Skadi was really schadenfroh, or "skadeglad," as it would be in Swedish.
Gore: *****
Nausea: ***
Steaminess: *****

Origin: Norse myths
Another R-rated Norse myth I got to know was the story of the Mead of Poetry, in a teenager book of myths from across cultures (Norse, Classical, Hindu, East Asian, Egyptian...) called En klunk av Kvasers blod (One Draught of Kvasir's Blood), by Sweden's leading oral narrator Mats Rehnman. The titular story is a feast of gore, intoxication, and steaminess my dad kept me from reading when I was a little girl, but I managed to read it in secret, once, during his absence. It begins with the two clans of gods signing a peace treaty and ends with Odin's unorthodox Promethean gift of inspiration to humankind.
So, to begin with the peace treaty: the Aesir and the Vanir, grown weary of years of war, gather to put an end to the armed conflict. And how do Norse gods sign a peace treaty? They all pass a bowl to one another and spit into it. When all the gods have mixed their fluids in the peace bowl, the froth begins to rise and take human shape. The figure born from the spit of the gods, Kvasir, is the most clever and learned of all sapients. He wanders through Midgard from village to village, sharing his infinite store of knowledge with humankind. But when he reaches Svartheim, the Home of the Dwarves, twin dwarf chiefs Fjalar and Galar, incensed by his words, crack Kvasir's skull open and drain his lifeless form of blood, then mix it with honey and store it in barrels in their cellars to create mead: honey beer. There is enough mead to fill three barrels, which the dwarves call Reconciliation, Acceptance, and Ecstasy. The Mead of Poetry is so strong a drink (stronger than Russian vodka?) that the drinkers who hold it become infused with Kvasir's knowledge and creativity. The Mead of Poetry is liquid inspiration. And Fjalar and Galar hoard it, deciding to take a sip every now and then. Until the drink goes to their little heads and inspires them to march on the Jotunheim (Giant-Home), where they manage to drown a married couple of giants. Their victims' orphaned children, however, do not hesitate to take a stand, and thus, the boldest of them, Suttung, captures the dwarves and puts them on a rocky islet in the middle of the ocean; a rock that, when the tide rises, is completely submerged underwater. At twilight, as highwater closes in, Fjalar and Galar pray for mercy and promise Suttung all three kegs of the Mead of Poetry as a fine to pay for having killed his parents. As soon as he puts them back on the mainland, they fulfill their promise. Suttung, once in possession of the mead, keeps it stored in a sealed ice cave, with his stepdaughter Gunnlaud shut in there, all alone without any distractions, to keep her eyes upon the prized treasure. Yes, there are no social services in the Jotunheim...
Now Odin himself, by chance, hears of the Mead of Poetry. And Odin, like me, thirsts constantly for knowledge. Having sacrificed his left eye and hung upside-down from Yggdrasil is not enough for him: he wants to drink the Mead as well...
Into the fields of Suttung's more sensible brother Baugi, during harvest time, wanders a weary drifter with a patch over his left eye. He offers the reaping farmhands a whetstone to sharpen their scythes, and the blades become so sharp that all of the reapers, fighting for possession of the whetstone, kill one another. Then, the one-eyed stranger offers his services to Baugi, impressing the landowner, since the stranger is strong and fast as nine men in one. When the harvest ends (within three days, that's how skilful he is), the drifter demands the Mead of Poetry in payment for his services. "You are Suttung's brother, after all..." After some well-deserved coaxing, Baugi takes up a drill and begins to bore through the door of the ice cave. When the hole is finished, the stranger (Odin, if you hadn't realized) turns into a one-eyed serpent and slithers into the cavern. Then, in the form of a dashing young man with a patch over his left eye, he approaches Gunnlaud, who is ecstatic to finally have some company. And that night, he deflowers her. The two of them manage to strike a deal: for each night of pleasure that Odin spends with the young giantess, the price will be a draught of the precious Mead. Three nights of love later, on the fourth day, quaffing Russian style, he drains each of the three kegs at one fell swoop (man, so much lovemaking makes one really thirsty...), then escapes through the hole in the shape of an eagle, with an infuriated Suttung, also in predatory avian form, hot on his talons. Thus, to fly lighter and easier, Odin drains himself of the Mead at both ends. Some of it falls into Midgard as eagle spew, and some as eagle poo. And, anywhere the Mead falls in either form, culture, knowledge, and creativity thrive among humankind, as a gift from the one-eyed god.
Gore: *****
Nausea: *****
Steaminess: *****

Origin: Norse myths
Here's a third R-rated Norse myth I first got to know now, in my twenties. Returning to Loki: once when he visited the Jotunheim in the guise of a peregrine falcon, he got into a tight spot when he was captured by giant chieftain Geirröd. This one set Loki free with the condition that the trickster should bring Thor without his hammer into Geirröd's presence, since the latter wanted to challenge the storm god to a mano a mano. Once Thor had left his hammer at home and the wife and kids, as well as the goats in the stable, for a gentlemen's outing with Loki in the Jotunheim, they spent a night with a friendly giantess, Grid, who told them what a brute and a son of a gun Geirröd was (in my headcanon, she was his exwife and the mother of his daughters). As a spare weapon, she gave the red-haired storm god her own iron staff, somewhat like a vaulting pole, as well as a pair of fireproof gloves that surely would come in handy.
The next day, Thor and Loki were fording the surging rapids of the Vimur River when the stream began to swell more than usual. The cause was not the thawing glaciers, but Geirröd's eldest daughter Gjalp, who was straddling the river upstream and relieving herself. Oui oui, Thor and Loki, urine a tight spot... or you would be if you didn't have an iron pole to hold on to, and if there was not conveniently a rowan with whose branches to pull yourself out of the rapids and back on terra firma across the bank, or a big fat rock next to the rowan; this rock did Thor, after having pulled himself and Loki to the other bank, throw at Gjalp like a hand grenade, but unfortunately she escaped alive.
The two gods finally reached Geirröd's keep and he showed them their lodgings... in the fortress goat stables (I assume their host also said something about Thor having already got goats and being used to their odour). At supper, however, Thor was given the only seat in the dining hall... but the chair suddenly began to rise, to soar, coming closer and closer to the ceiling... Fortunately, the storm god kept his trusty iron pole by his side and used it to press himself back to the ground, where he heard a series of loud cracks. When he finally looked down, there lay Gjalp and her little sister Greip on the wooden pavement in a tangled heap, both of them bleeding and bereft of life. They had tried to crush Thor by driving him up to the ceiling, but, ironically, he had been the one who pinned them to the ground. Geirröd didn't even flinch: the two jotun maidens were either his stepdaughters or he neglected them altogether. In fact, he challenged Thor to a game of fireball (seen Friends?) using a red hot iron ball, like a cannonball (if there were cannons in Viking times). Geirröd threw the ball straight, aiming for Thor's chest, but the storm god caught it in his fireproof gloves (see why Q always gives Bond the gadgets at the start of every mission?) and sent it careening right in the opposite direction, towards his opponent. The iron ball shot right through Geirröd's midriff before embedding itself in the keep walls behind him. Thor and Loki returned in triumph to the Valhalla, surely high-fiving one another as Geirröd collapsed with a hole in his midsection.
Gore: *****
Nausea: ****

Origin: Aragonian folklore (told by Zaragozan storyteller Mario)
This is a folktale of type 570: the only daughter of a royal family falls mortally ill, her hand is promised to the one who can heal her, a young shepherd succeeds, but the royals don't want him for an in-law, so they give him the task of watching the royal hare herd for a lapse of time without losing a single bunny; helping a magical aged person gives the lad a whistle that, when blown, summons all the hares together; after a while, in order to make him fail, the royals try to take hares from him dressed in peasant garb: first the princess, then the queen, then the king; the lad, recognizing the royals through their disguises, gives them hares only if they demean themselves in front of him in a certain way, then, once they have got their bunnies, blows his whistle to get them back... when the herding time is over, the lad is assigned another task: during a feast at court, he must fill a sack or basket with lies: he tells of his encounters with the royals incognito and they, embarrassed, say. "That's a lie!!" Thus, he wins the hand of the princess and her parents' approval.
I had previously heard Hungarian and Swedish versions which were pretty chaste, intended for a child audience, which is seen in the part with the royals demeaning themselves: the princess has to kiss the lad, the queen has to curtsy before him, the king has to kiss his right hand upon his bent knee. In comparison, this Aragonian version makes the ones I already knew sound even... Puritan.
Mario, the narrator, a maño (this word means Aragonian in general, and Zaragozan in particular) to the core, told this story at the first year of the Castellón Province storytelling event Benvingudes ParAules, held at Les Aules every weekend in March since this year. I listened spellbound at how the story unfurled...
So there once were a king and queen of Aragon who had an only child, a marriageable daughter, and she fell mortally ill, so her parents agreed that the man who healed her would become her spouse. In the end, the one who succeeded was a hearty, brawny young shepherd from the Pyrinees, thanks to some herbal remedies he knew. And the royals were aghast, thinking that they would not have that commoner for a son-in-law. So they entrusted to him their herd of forty hares for forty days, and, if he managed to keep them safe without losing a single bunny, they would give him their daughter's hand in marriage.
So the first day on the pastures, the hares scattered. Then the shepherd shared his food with an old pilgrim bound for Santiago, and he told the wanderer of his troubles. The pilgrim gave the lad a whistle and told him to blow it every day at twilight. Blowing the whistle summoned all 40 hares together. And soon the royals got to know that not a single hare was lost. So they sent their daughter, dressed as a peasant lass, to the pastures to try to snatch a hare. The hare shepherd, however, recognized the princess in spite of her disguise, and he agreed to give her a bunny only if she showed him her legs. So she pulled up her skirt, and her underskirt, and her petticoats, and she pulled down her bloomers... and the lad, who had hitherto only seen the legs of many ewes but never those of a fair maiden, was throbbing with excitement. Then, he gave the "lass" a hare into her arms, but barely had she walked a dozen steps when he blew his whistle and the bunny hopped back from her embrace to his side.
That evening, the young princess told her mother about her failure, and thus, the next day, the queen came to the pastures dressed as a stout peasant woman. The lad saw through her disguise as well, and when she asked for the price of a hare, he replied that she had to ride on him, or he on her, or both on one another. So she took off her skirt, and her underskirt, and her petticoats, and her bloomers, and flung off layer after layer, and let her hair down, and made love to the shepherd (who had undressed himself as well in the meantime), and the shepherd made love to her, and in the end the "peasant woman" dressed back and the lad gave her the hare, and she squeezed it with all her might to her well-endowed chest... but barely had she walked a dozen steps when he blew his whistle and the bunny hopped back from her embrace to his side.
That evening, she told her husband of her failure, and the king, irate, replied: "You women are worthless! I'll have to do it myself!" So, the next day, he left for the pastures in the guise of a woodsman, but the young shepherd recognized him as well, and, when the "woodsman" asked him for a hare, the lad said: "All right, but, in exchange, you must suck the bloody piles in my arse; it would be most soothing." Then, the lad pulled down his trousers and the older man had no choice but to shove his face into the lad's rear and suck his piles, while the young chap felt most relieved. In the end, pulling up his trousers, he gave the "woodsman" the bunny he had promised, but barely had he walked a dozen steps when the lad blew his whistle and the bunny hopped back from the older man's embrace to the younger one's side.
In the end, the fortieth day has ended and the shepherd returns to the royal court with all forty hares alive. Yet the crowned heads have prepared a third task to test their prospective in-law: during a feast at the palace, he has to fill an empty basket with lies.
Yet the lad is not fazed at all. He cleans his throat and begins to narrate:
"One day, I was herding forty hares in the crown pastures when the princess came to me, and she lifted her skirt, and her underskirt, and her petticoats..."
"THAT'S A LIE!," the princess shrieks, red as a strawberry.
"The next day,  I was herding forty hares in the crown pastures when the queen came to me, and she doffed her skirt, and her underskirt, and her petticoats, and all of her dresses, and let down her hair, and I undressed myself as well.."
"THAT'S A LIE!!," the queen shrieks, red as a watermelon.
"On the third day, I was herding forty hares in the crown pastures when the king came to me, and I pulled down my trousers, and he bent the knees behind me..."
"THAAAAT'S A LIEEE!!!," the king roars, red as a baker's dozen beetroots. "THE SACK IS ALREADY FULL OF LIES!! TO KEEP MY WORD, I GIVE YOU MY DAUGHTER'S HAND IN MARRIAGE!"
And thus, the shepherd lad finally married the princess, and she got to love him, and they lived happily ever after.
Gore: *
Nausea: *****
Steaminess: *****

Origin: Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
I was in my mid-teens when I first read Chaucer in the high-school library. And I was hooked. The second tale in his collection is a blue story full of sex, toilet humour, laughs, and comedy that I also got to know a Swedish folk version of.
The Miller's Tale is set in Oseney, not far from Oxford, and stars local master carpenter Oswald, a middle-aged, unattractive lout; his young and beautiful wife Alison, auburn and slender as a weasel; and their tenant Nicholas, the university student who lives in their garret, a clever and learned, good-looking stripling who is rather sweet on Alison. One day, this young scholar appears to have a seizure and then explains to his landlord and landlady that the LORD has told him that He intends to drown all the wicked on Earth in a second flood, and that they have been chosen to build a makeshift ark, made up of three wooden barrels hanging from ropes tied to the rafters of the couple's bedroom. All three will have to place themselves on said barrels that night, and Nicholas himself will give the sign of the incoming flood, at which point all three will have to cut their ropes and plunge into the waters below. The carpenter falls for it hook, line, and sinker.
That night, Oswald overeats for safety and then curls himself snugly up in the barrel, quickly falling asleep, while Alison and Nick make the beast with two backs on the marital bed below. As all of this happens, let us introduce a new character, Absolom. Not the son of King David mentioned in LEFTY REDUX, but the parish clerk of Oseney, as long-haired and conscious of his appearance as the rebel prince, hence his name. Though he may look pretty sissy, Absolom is straight through and through. And he is sweet on Alison as well. That night, Absolom pops up at Alison's window and asks her for a kiss. At first she refuses, but finally she gives in, with a coquette, flirtish reply... somehow. Lifting her négligée, she moons out the window, and the parish clerk passionately kisses her derrière (talk about "kiss my ass," literally!). Upon realizes that what he pressed his lips to was not the face of his beloved, Absolom heads for the local forge to get a red hot cattle-branding iron. This time, it's Nicky who moons out the window, and the blazing poker sinks deep into the young student's rectum. Cue Nicholas, in searing pain, shrieking so loudly that it can be heard in Banbury: "WAAATEEER!!! WAAAATEEEERR!!!!" The shrill screams awake the loutish carpenter, who instantly thinks: "The flood is coming!" and cuts the rope of his barrel, sending him with a crash to the floor below, and, after Nick and Alison spread the word the next day, the betrayed husband becomes the laughing-stock of the Oseney townsfolk.
Gore: ****
Nausea: ***
Steaminess: *****

Origin: Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
If you thought Nick was shrewd, wait until you meet his Cambridge counterparts, Allan and John. Yes, Chaucer has another tale about stupid countryfolk/commoners, sexy wenches, and clever university students. In the Reeve's Tale, John and Allan, born oop north but studying and living at Trinity College, have been sent by their steward to have the college grain ground in the village of Trumpington. Meet the family in the mill: Master miller Simon, AKA Simpkins (as in "Simple Simon"), definitely lacking in the brains department and in the looks department, and in the self-control department. However, he excels in wickedness, greed, and corruption. Simpkins's wife, a bastard child of the local priest's, a robust and well-fed wealthy peasant woman. These two could as well be the Thénardiers of medieval England. Then their two children: adolescent Molly, a lovely, voluptuous wheat-blonde maiden (Holy Molly!) of whom her family has high hopes of marrying to a noble; and Molly's months-old little brother.
Now Simpkins and his wife can really give the Thénardiers a run for the money, for they cheat their customers of both wheat and flour, stealing their grain and padding their sacks with less expensive substances. When the steward of Trinity College gets the flu, the master miller obviously seizes the chance to extort and scam the college more than usual, a hundred times harder than before, shorting the college outrageously on its provisions. That's why Allan and John have come to the Trumpington mill: the two students want to have their wheat ground there, convinced that they can prevent Simpkins from cheating them. Of course the master knows their arrival is bad news, so, when they say that they are going to watch their grain being ground, keeping always an eye on it, Simpkins unties their horses and sets them loose in the countryside, then, while the students chase their steeds and bring them back, Simpkins and his wife, unwatched, steal the flour and use it to make a cake, which they hide behind the front door. Thénardieresque indeed.
At twilight, the two young students, weary from catching their horses all day long, return and decide to spend the night in the mill (one step ahead of the scammers!). That evening (after husband and wife get really soused), everyone (six people, if you count the miller family and the students) beds in the same shared bedroom, Allan next to Molly. Which the young student takes advantage of to flirt with the sexy lass, and subsequently get her into his bed, in retaliation for the grain scam. John, in the meantime, manages to bed Molly's mum by moving the baby's cradle from the feet of the couple's bed to that of his own while she was urinating. By groping in the dark and realizing she has to get in the bed with the cradle at their feet, she winds up in a younger man's embrace.
Both students have a jolly good time, and so have their mistresses, until the mill rooster crows for the third time in the morn of the next day. Then, while her parents are fast asleep, the lass and her lover awaken. Molly tells Allan that the cake made from the scammed flour is hidden behind the entrance door (good girl...). Then, confused by all the sex and beer of the night, Allan walks past the beds. Seeing that there are two sleepers, his face hidden in her hair, in the bed with the cradle at his feet, he believes that they are Simpkins and his wife, and thus he assumes that the man in the bed next to the couple's must be his good friend and classmate (but it's actually Simpkins!), and thus, Allan shouts into his head: "Wake up, John, you pighead! By Jove, I've screwed the miller's daughter thrice while you were sleeping!"
"Traitor!! How dare you disparage my lineage!?" Simpkins, with a worse hangover, gives a surly roar. He catches Allan by the throat and gives the student a taste of his fist. The two men duke it out like luchadores, until Simpkins knocks himself out by having his own head hit by the rock they use as doorstop, and falls backwards on his sleeping wife. Seeing her husband's shiny bald head in the morning sunlight, she takes it for a student's nightcap and knocks the "student," actually her husband, in the head with a cane. Both young students get dressed, beat Simpkins black and blue, take the cake, their flour, and their horses, and return to Cambridge in triumph.
Gore: **
Nausea: **
Steaminess: *****

Origin: Gargantua and Pantagruel, Book IV
From what Rabelais explains here, French countryfolk are more clever than their counterparts north of the Channel. Like this woman who tricked a demon. This vassal of Satan's wanted to cheat our heroine and her husband out of their lands. One night, he enters the farmhouse and finds the woman sprawled on the ground, writhing and crying in tears. "What is the matter?" the devil asks, and she replies: "Where is he? what does he? the wicked rogue, the murderer! He has spoiled me; I am undone; I die of what he has done me. Alas! he told me, the butcher, the tyrant, the tearer of devils told me that he had made a match to scratch with you this day, and to try his claws he did but just touch me with his little finger here betwixt the legs, and has spoiled me for ever. Oh! I am a dead woman; I shall never be myself again; do but see! Nay, and besides, he talked of going to the smith’s to have his pounces sharpened and pointed. Alas! you are undone, Mr. Devil; good sir, scamper quickly, I am sure he won’t stay; save yourself, I beseech you." Upon saying these words, the peasant woman uncovered herself up to her chin and plainly showed her what do ye call them. The frightened devil, seeing the enormous solution of the continuity in all its dimensions, blessed himself, and cried out: "Mahon, Demiourgon, Megaera, Alecto, Persephone! ‘slife, catch me here when he comes! I am gone! ‘sdeath, what a gash! I resign him the field." She showed him her vulva, and, tricked, he took it for a wound. And thus, the evil one retreated and let the couple keep their lands.
Nausea: *****
Steaminess: *****

Origin: folktale spread across languages
I totally adore stories about mothers and daughters. Yet not all of them are that heartwarming. An example as extreme as the one of Molly in the Chaucer tale, which exists across several oral traditions, may suffice:
A foolish young girl and her mum, during an outing in the countryside, spot a farmer shagging his beast of burden.
"Mum, what's this man doing?," the daughter asks.
Her mother replies. "He's trying to talk some good sense into his mare/donkey/mule."
The maiden gets the words literally and saunters up to the plowman, asking him: "Are you talking some good sense into your beast?"
When the farmer nods, the girl coquettely asks: "Could you please talk some good sense into me?" Depending of the version, either mum interrupts the deed and punishes the girl harshly, or she loses her maidenhead to the plowman, then walks back to her mum, bragging, elated, that she's finally got some good sense, that the farmer stabbed some good sense into her with a big red thing... to get her mother's harsh rebuke: "You have lost what little good sense you had!"
Gore: **
Nausea: ****
Steaminess: *****

Origin: Holy Land Islamic folklore
This tale is type 2028: the same as the Czech Otesánek (turned into a disturbing fairytale film, which I warmly recommend, by Jan Svankmajer in 2000) and the Very Greedy Cat that shows up in so many cultures from the Sanskrit to the Scandinavian. There are also parallels with the Eglon story, with the greedy, each time heftier yet never satisfied omnivore oppressor (in many Very Greedy Cat stories, the titular character devours a priest; in some, he even eats a royal family and their entire entourage) that is gutted and defeated by an outsider (Otesánek by an old lady, the Very Greedy Cat by a crab, Dunglet by blind beggars, Eglon by a left-hander...), who liberates all the prisoners kept inside his gut (also, we may add to this list... Zeus freeing his siblings devoured by Cronus, though Zeus did so by serving Cronus an emetic-laced drink).
Anyway, on to the tale of Dunglet.
Countless stories across cultures begin with a barren woman wishing for a child. And, if she makes a desperate wish (like the mums of Tom Thumb and Hans the Hedgehog), it literally comes true. This Muslim peasant woman from the Holy Land (as she was conveniently cleaning her sheep pen) wished for a child, even if it were a heap of sheep dung. Guess what she birthed nine months later! They swept away all the dung except a lump that hid under the childbed. Years later, one day when her husband was tilling the fields, and she had made some yoghurt and bread, she heard a shrill voice from under the bed: it was the piece of sheep dung that had come alive and requested: "Mum, can I go out and bring dad his lunch?" Dunglet's mother gave him permission, but Dunglet ate all the yoghurt and all the bread, and then, when his dad said "Welcome, Dunglet! I was starving... and you brought lunch for me..." Dunglet himself swallowed his dad whole with the plow and all.
Then he returned back home, where his mum was kneading dough to make more bread, and she said: "Welcome, Dunglet! Couldn't you please help me make the bread... like, kindle fire in the oven while I knead this dough?" In response, he shook his head and boasted: "I have eaten all the yoghurt and all the bread, and dad and his plow, and now I will eat you and your dough!" And Dunglet swallowed his mother and her raw dough (and the oven too).
Then he went forth to visit one of his aunts, who was fixing a hole in her roof should the rain get in, and she said: "Welcome, Dunglet! Couldn't you please help me fix this roof... like, hold up this ladder steady so I don't fall off?" In response, he shook his head and boasted: "I have eaten all the yoghurt and all the bread, and dad and his plow, and mum and her dough (and the oven too), and now I will eat you and your roof!" So Dunglet swallowed his aunt and the roof she was mending (and the ladder too).
Then he decided to visit his other aunt, whom he found hanging up the laundry on the clothesline, and she said: "Welcome, Dunglet! Couldn't you please help me with the laundry... like, holding up this laundry basket while I take up the clothes and hang them up?" In response, he shook his head and bragged to her: "I have eaten all the yoghurt and all the bread, and dad and his plow, and mum and her dough (and the oven too), and my other auntie and her roof (and the ladder too), and now I will eat you and your laundry!" Dunglet then devoured his other auntie and all of her laundry (and the basket too), then set off to meet his granny.
The old grandmother was spinning wool on a spinning wheel when Dunglet appeared, and she said: "Welcome, Dunglet! Couldn't you please help me at home... like, sit the cat while I, poor old lady, am too busy spinning?" In response, he shook his head and proudly told her: "I have eaten all the yoghurt and all the bread, and dad and his plow, and mum and her dough (and the oven too), and my auntie and her roof (and the ladder too), and my other auntie and her laundry (and the basket too), and now I will eat you and your spinning wheel!" Thus, he devoured his poor old granny and her spinning wheel (and the cat as well).
On his way home, Dunglet chanced upon a wedding procession. The rest of the village was there, marching down the street. And the bride and groom were elated, and they said: "Welcome, Dunglet! Couldn't you please help us with the revels... like, provide some entertainment during the feast?" Now he was a huge monster, who roared in a cavernous baritone: "I have eaten all the yoghurt and all the bread, and dad and his plow, and mum and her dough (and the oven too), and my auntie and her roof (and the ladder too), and my other auntie and her laundry (and the basket too), and my granny and her spinning wheel (and the cat as well), and now I will eat the bride and groom and their entire retinue!" And so he did.
Then he came upon two blind beggars, who had wandered into the village hobbling on their canes, and they said: "Welcome, Dunglet! Couldn't you please help us down the street... please lead us to some people who might be kind to these poor old sinners?" In response, Dunglet shook his head like thunder, and mightily and cavernously roared: "I have eaten all the yoghurt and all the bread, and dad and his plow, and mum and her dough (and the oven too), and my auntie and her roof (and the ladder too), and my other auntie and her laundry (and the basket too), and my granny and her spinning wheel (and the cat as well), and the bride and groom and their entire retinue, and now I shall eat you two!!"
But one of the beggars drew a little knife, stabbed Dunglet in the belly, and sliced it open, thus eviscerating him, freeing all the swallowed ones who had been trapped within.
Gore: *****
Nausea: *****
Steaminess: *

Origin: Pentamerone
The Pentamerone is a collection of Southern Italian tales dating back to the mid-seventeenth century, to the gory and glorious days of the Thirty Years' War. This story and the one below were not featured in Victorian translations of the Pentamerone (obviously meant for the nursery) for obvious reasons.
So there is this princess (a marriageable only child), Emily, who cannot laugh, not even giggle, and obviously, her crowned father, desperate, has announced a proclamation that the man who makes her laugh will become her spouse. The one who succeeds is (not Loki, but) a boy of the landed gentry, disowned by his parents due to his unusual choice of pets, who uses them in a circus number: a cockroach on a mini guitar, an acrobatic rat, and a virtuoso-chirping cricket. It makes Princess Emily burst into ringing laughter, but the king will not accept a vermin tamer for a son-in-law, imprisoning the lad and his three pets in the castle dungeons and betrothing his daughter to a wealthy, powerful, dashing lord of the court.
In the dungeons, the three vermin decide to sabotage the princess's betrothal to have her reunited with their master. That night, the eve of the wedding, the cockroach creeps into the fiancés' sumptuous bedchambers, under the bedsheets, and into the lord's négligée, then climbs up to his derrière and in through his anus, acting as a suppository as she scurries through his noble colon. The next morning, Emily winces at the sight and the odour of the bedsheets, and her bridegroom, believing that he's just got a temporary case of diarrhoea, has the wedding delayed for the next day, and dons a redoubtably thick adult nappy out of cloth before going to bed. That night, the cockroach gets ready to creep in, but soon despairs upon realizing that His Lordship has fortified his august derrière. Fortunately, the rat comes to the bug's aid, breaching the fortress walls with her sharp rodent incisors, and the cockroach can act as a suppository once more.
The next day, with his princess bride even more disgusted by his innards' discharge, the aristocrat is hell-bent on not letting it spill out for the third time. Delaying the wedding for yet another day, he (getting a tip from an artillery officer friend of his) stops his anus with a mortar cork and downs a dozen cups of strong, black coffee. That night, seeing that His Lordship is wide awake (cockroaches have got impressive night vision), the cockroach calls for the cricket to enter the bedchamber and chirp a lullaby. Once the lord is fast asleep, the suppository bug notices another hindrance: the cork, which the rat is unable to gnaw through, but she has fortuantely thought of what to do (rodents are very intelligent!). The rat scampers into the royal kitchens and scampers back into the bedchamber with her tail tip drenched in mustard, with which she smears His Lordship's august nostrils. And you may imagine the result: "AAAA-AAAAH-AAAH-AAAAH-AAAH-TCHOOOOO!!!" as the cork is shot like a missile from his derrière and hits Princess Emily in the middle of the chest, between her peach-sized tits, which causes a big blue bruise on that spot. And, shocked, she screams: "Guards!! I've been shot in the heart with a petard!!" In the meantime, the cockroach gets in where she has entered for the past two nights.
The next day, the embarrassed, disgraced aristocrat leaves the royal court to spend the rest of his life in the provinces, while the young vermin tamer is set free and marries Princess Emily, and the three vermin become noble pets of royalty.
Gore: *
Nausea: *****
Steaminess: *

Origin: Pentamerone
This other Pentamerone story absent from Victorian translations belongs to type 571C. Andalusian versions (the Southern Italian kingdoms belonged to Spain during the early modern period!) have been gathered by Juan Valera ("La muñequita") and Luis Coloma ("¡Ajajú!") during the nineteenth century; in both of these, the unusual lucky charm is a doll, while in the Pentamerone it's a duckling. And "duck" ("canard" in French, "pato" in Spanish, "papera" in the original Italian) has never ceased to be an inherently funny word...
Lilla and Lola, two poor peasant sisters, surely orphans, purchase, at the local market, a duckling whose faeces happen to possess the same properties as those of Tywin Lannister. Of course, the word about the gold-pooping duck spreads like wildfire; and some envious, greedy women, so-called "friends" of our heroine Lola's and her sister Lilla's, manage to steal the web-footed charm. But, however, the spell appears only to work with well-intentioned, humble people; for the villainesses only manage to get their hands on completely normal (and disgusting) duck guano, without a single grain of gold, so they send the duckling away. A while later, the crown prince of the lands is relieving himself among the reeds of a pond during a deer hunt, squatting right on someone special and web-footed, when suddenly the duck's bill latches like a vice grip onto his royal anus, "like a web-footed Salmacis to a hairy Hermaphroditus" (to quote the Count himself!). Owwww...
In the end, after all of the crown surgeons have tried in vain to remove the foreign object, and used every kind of remedy (bloodletting, leeches, mercury, vinegar...), His Highness launches a proclamation that the maiden who succeeds in freeing him of the unusual torture implement will become his bride and consort. And every maiden in the realm repairs to court in hopes of becoming the most unlikely among Cinderellas.
Finally, the turn comes to Lola, who, upon seeing the duck's tail and feet sticking from the prince's coattails, recognizes her pet and exclaims, teary-eyed: "Oh, my lucky ducky ducky!! How much I have missed you!!" The ducky hops into Lola's arms, prefering a peasant maiden's kisses to a derrière of royalty, and the lass embraces and kisses her pet. So, after all the pomp and circumstance of the obligatory royal wedding, Lola and the prince are crowned king and queen; Lilla marries a wealthy, powerful lord and becomes a court lady, always close to her sister; the duckling, like the vermin of the previous story, is made a royal pet; and the envious village gossips who stole the duck at the start of it all are banished from the realm for life.
Gore: *
Nausea: ***
Steaminess: *

Origin: Andalusian folklore, retold by nineteenth-century authors.

Origin: Andalusian folklore, retold by nineteenth-century author Juan Valera.
This is a scatological Andalusian version of "Frau Holle" to be reckoned with. To begin with, one evening, a young married couple of peasants from the Córdoba province celebrate the husband's 30th birthday by throwing a party to which they invite their whole village. However, when the hostess wants to fan the flame in the hearth and, for want of bellows, must use her own lungs, the air goes out of her the other way, with such a distinctive sound that it cannot be mistaken for anything else. Red as a beetroot, she screams in embarrassment: "¡Tierra, trágame!" And then, as if by response to her command, a crack in the ground opens beneath her feet and swallows her up.
The young peasant woman winds up in Aeolia, the realm of the winds mentioned in the Odyssey, where she is hailed as a heroine and escorted to its ruler's palace. There, in the magnificent throne room, a dashing and golden-haired enthroned Aeolus salutes her as his mother and treats her like royalty, even letting her spend the night in a guest bedchamber. The next day, she awakes in her own farmhouse bedroom, but, when she goes downstairs to the cellar to get her daily beans for her breakfast (our heroine loves beans, and they were the reason for her embarrassment at her husband's birthday party), she discovers that every sack has this inscription embroidered on it in golden thread: "FROM HIS ROYAL AND IMPERIAL MAJESTY, THE KING AND KAISER OF WESTERN AEOLIA, AS A TOKEN OF GRATITUDE TO HIS BELOVED QUEEN MOTHER."
And, furthermore, every single bean within every single sack in the whole cellar is of solid gold!
The young couple become exceedingly wealthy and prosperous, but the woman's best childhood friend gradually turns green with envy. She manages to coax, out of her friend, the secret of her sudden prosperity, then, the envious woman throws her own village-wide party, but, when she fans the flames, the sound from her rear end is clearly imperceptible, upon which she exclaims in rage: "¡Tierra, trágame!"
She shares at first the fate of our heroine (a crack in the ground opens beneath her feet and swallows her up, she winds up in the same place), but the Aeolians come to her as an angry mob and chase her into the filthiest of their dumps, where a little slimy, rotting trash monster latches itself to our villainess's neck and steals nauseating kisses from her, while calling her: "Mum! Mum! I'm your boy, born out of your greed and your envy!!" She falls unconscious in the dump with the filthy, reeking trash monster still latched on to her.
The next morning, breathing a sigh of relief as she awakens in her own room, she winces as she walks downstairs to the cellar, then runs as fast as she can out of her home. Ewwww. Not only is it full of rotting trash, but also of rats, snakes, and revolting bugs. Ewwww, vermin!
Nausea: *****

Origin: 1001 Nights, Middle Eastern folklore
The story of the Queen Mother of Aeolia calls to mind a couple of stories from the 1001 Nights.
There once was in the land of Yemen one Hasan, a dashing young man with a rapier wit and a generous heart, who had finally won the hand of the province governor's daughter, a maiden as lovely as the full moon. It was truly a marriage made in paradise. The grandest wedding feast in all the lands followed the ceremony. Yet, after the desserts, as he raised himself from his cushion, the newlywed, who had eaten in excess, passed gas with such a thunderous might that it hushed every other voice in the room.
An embarrassed Hasan moved to another country further east, where he thrived thanks to his gift of languages and his sincerity, and soon became the right-hand man of the maharajah. Yet, years later, Hasan, at the cusp of the wheel of fortune, was overcome by nostalgia and decided to return to his own birthplace. For years he wandered the hills of his own home country, until he overheard a certain shepherd woman and her daughter in conversation, himself eavesdropping outside their hut:
"Mum, when was I born?"
"It's easy, my girl. The year, and moreover the very night, when Hasan farted."
Desperate, Hasan never set foot in his birthplace again, resuming his post as the maharajah's trusted advisor.
Nausea: ***

Origin: 1001 Nights, Middle Eastern folklore
You may have heard of Schwarzenegger in the film Junior. Or of the male pregnancy fetish. Or of the Freudian interpretation that Cronus and the Big Bad Wolf (in tales such as "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Seven Kids") suffered from so-called "womb envy." But this story puts them all to shame.
There once were a wealthy governor and his lady wife, who had been childless for decades. Now this governor was known throughout his jurisdiction for three things in particular:
1) His girth was rather hefty, which led to the local cliché: "As large as the governor's belly."
2) He was pretty harsh towards his subjects, and even extorted taxes from them.
3) He had already married and divorced more than once, and he had been stingy and abusive towards his previous wives.
So this beautiful noblewoman had reasons for snatching money from her greedy husband's hoard and sharing it with the household servants. The old female cook bought new ingredients and made finger-licking dishes, which the lady told her husband were gifts from her various aunts and uncles.
One of the household maids whom her charity fed was a poor mother of five children, with a sixth bun already in her oven. The lady asked the maid if she would hand over her sixth child in adoption to her (the lady) and her husband, who were wealthy and childless. The poor servant family would thus have a better future, being related to the household heir.
In the end, the maid birthed her sixth child, a boy twice as large as a normal baby. The governor's wife had already concocted a plan to present the child to her lord husband (who would by no means accept an infant from a poor family as his heir). So the lady hid the baby in a safe place and, that evening, she prepared, with the cook's help, a feast of beans, peas, white haricots, cabbage, lentils, onions, cloves of garlic, various heavy grains and powdered spices, which her empty-bellied husband heartily devoured.
Make me such a dish every day," he said. "It slips most pleasantly and easily down the throat."
"May it be both delicious and digestible!" answered his wife.
Then, he congratulated himself on  the excellent choice of a wife; but an hour afterwards his belly began visibly to swell. A noise as of a far-off tempest made itself heard inside him. Low grumblings and far thunders shook the walls of his being and brought in their train sharp colics, spasms, and a final agony. He grew yellow in the face and began to roll groaning about the floor, holding his belly in his two hands.
"Allah, Allah!" he cried. "I have a terrible storm within! Who will deliver me?"
Soon his paunch became as tight as a gourd, and his cries brought his wife running. She made him swallow a powder of anise and fennel, which was soon to have its effect, and, at the same time, to console and encourage him, began rubbing and patting the afflicted part, as if he had been a little sick child. Suddenly she ceased the movement of her hand and uttered a piercing cry: "Yu, yu, a miracle, a prodigy! O master, my master!"
In violent contortions, her spouse stammered forth: "What is the matter, what is the miracle?"
But she only answered: "Yu, yu! O my master, my master!"
"Tell me what the matter is!" he yelled, and she passed her hand afresh over that tempestuous belly, as she replied: "Exalted be the name of the Highest! He says, and it is done! Who shall discover his secret purposes, my master?"
Between two howls, the governor gasped: "May Allah curse you for torturing me so! What is the matter? Tell me at once!"
Then said his wife: "Master, dear master, his will be done! You are with child! And your time is close at hand!"
Rising up at these incredible words, the master roardd: "Have you gone mad? How can a man be pregnant?"
"As Allah lives I do not know," she answered, "but the child is moving in your belly; I have felt it kicking and touched its head. Allah scatters increase where he will, may his name be exalted! Pray for the prophet, my husband!"
So he groaned out in the midst of his convulsion, "May the blessing of Allah be upon him!"
Then his pains increased, and he fell howling to the floor in a crisis of agony. Suddenly came relief. A long and thunderous fart broke from him, shaking the foundations of the house and throwing its utterer violently forward, so that he swooned. Then followed a multitude of other escapes, gradually diminishing in sound but rolling and re-echoing through the troubled air. Last came a single deafening explosion, and all was still.
As the master came gradually to himself, he saw a little mattress by his side, on which a newborn baby, swaddled in linens, lay squalling and grimacing. His wife bent over him, saying, "Praise be to Allah and to his prophet for this happy deliverance!" Then she went on murmuring the sacred names over her husband and the child, until the governor did not know whether he dreamed or whether his recent sufferings had turned his head. But when he came to consider the matter calmly, the sight of the child, the cessation of his pains, and the memory of the tempest which had escaped from his belly, forced him to believe in this miraculous birth. Also maternal love caused him to accept the infant.
"Surely Allah may bring forth his people according to his will!" he said. "Even a man, if he is fated to do so, may give birth in due season! Get me a nursemaid, dear wife, for I cannot feed the child myself."
"I had already thought of that. I have one waiting in the harem," she replied. "But a mother's milk is best of all. Are you sure that your breasts have not swelled?"
The master felt anxiously, and answered, "No, there is nothing there."
The young wife rejoiced at the success of her strategy and, after telling her spouse that he must keep his bed for forty days and forty nights, gave him such medicines as are usual and petted him till he fell into a doze. Being worn out by his colic, the old man slept for a long time, and when he woke he found his body as well as his mind was ill at ease.
His first care was to enjoin secrecy on his wife, saying, "I am lost for ever if folk get to know that their governor has given birth to a veritable child."
Instead of reassuring him, his wife answered, "We are not the only folk who know of the fortunate miracle. All the townsfolk have already learned it from the nursemaid. She should have shut up."
For forty days he lay in bed, in deep mortification, not daring to move for fear of complications and internal bleeding, and brooding all the time over his monstrous accident. "Surely my foes will accuse me of many ridiculous things," he said to himself. "They will say that I have let myself be buggered in some extraordinary fashion, and that it is all very well for me to be severe in my judgments when I have given myself up to such strange immoralities that I can bear a child. As Allah lives, I am sure that they will accuse me of having been buggered, me, their virtuous governor, and I have almost forgotten what it feels like!"
Finally, when his lady wife told him that he had recovered from his "childbed," the embarrassed master entrusted the household to her, and then he left for Damascus under the cover of darkness.
He came to Damascus weary, but happy in the thought that no one knew his name or story. Yet, in the next few hours, he heard the tale of his exploit repeated countless times in all the public places. Also, as he had feared, each new gossip added some fresh detail to tickle the laughter of his hearers, attributing extraordinary organs to the former governor and bestowing on him every variety of that name which he dared not formulate even to himself. But happily no one knew his face, and he was able to go on his way unrecognized. Towards night he even grew so hardened that he would pause and listen to his own story. In fact, when he heard himself accused not of one child but of a whole family, he could not help laughing a little, and murmuring, "They may say what they like, as long as they do not recognize me."
Though he lived in Damascus even more miserly than before, his provision of money at length ran out, and he was obliged to sell his clothes for bread. Finally, rather than send a message to his wife in which he would have to tell her where his treasure lay, he hired himself out to a mason as a mortar carrier.
Years went by, then decades, and, now reduced to a proletarian, the former governor became as thin as a rake. As a starving stray cat. At last, feeling certain that the years would have effaced the memory of his misfortune, he left Damascus and came, a mere wraith of skin and bones, to his native land, to his old hometown. As he went through the gate, he saw a group of children playing together and heard one of them say to another, "How do you expect to win when you were born in the year of the Father of Farts?"
"I thank Allah," murmured the delighted wanderer, "that he has caused my tale to be forgotten! Behold, some other fellow has become a proverb in the mouths of children!" He went up to the boy who had spoken, saying, "Who is this fellow you call the Father of Farts?"
"He was given that name," answered the child, "because once, when he had broken wind enormously, his wife made him think -- ." But nothing is to be gained by repeating the sorry story here.
Realizing for the first time that he had been fooled by his wife, he left the children and ran in all haste to his own house; but the doors were open to the wind, the floor was broken, and the walls had crumbled away. In the remains of the treasure cabinet there was no gold or silver, nor hint nor smell that such had been. Some sympathetic passers-by told him, as well as they could for laughter, how his wife had given him up for dead and departed with all his goods into a far country. Without answering a word, he turned on his heels and returned to Damascus. To the miserable proletarian life that he had grown accustomed to.
Nausea: ****

Origin: Kalila y Dimna (Spanish/Moorish Medieval lore)
Across the Islamic world, this collection similar to the 1001 Nights contains everything from animal fables to more facetious stories about Homo sapiens. This is one of the latter, in the Spanish Moorish version. It's fun to see the gunner hoist by their own petard, to quote Hamlet. And this is exactly the scenario that occurs in this little wench story.
So there is the Madame of this pleasure house, and she's a cougar with a boy toy. Her lover, however, prefers a younger wench of the same establishment. Of course the green-eyed monster preys on the older lady and spurs her into "If I can't have him, then nobody will" killing mentality. So, one evening, she plies her young lover and rival with strong drink (we're talking about medieval Moors in their late teens or twenties: judge their experience with ethanol up to this point!) to such a degree that both young people fall into a stupor.
Once having drugged the victims and tucked them half-naked into bed, completely sure that the liquor has completely knocked the two lovebirds out, the Madame goes on to the second part of her plan: she has a hollow cane which she plans to use to fire a pair of poisoned blow-darts. Unaware of the cruel trick that fate has in store for her, our pleasure house owner targets first the young man, putting the first dart on her tongue, one end of the cane in her own mouth, and probing with the other end of the cane, through the victim's glutes and anus, into his rectum. Let the story itself explain what happened next, in my translation from the Spanish:
"And it happened, that while she had in her mouth one end of the cane to blow the dart in, the stripling, in his innocent sleep, expelled out of himself from that place (ie the anus) a great thundergust, with such force that the blow-dart was thrust down the throat of the older lady, causing her to drop dead in presence of the hermit (who was a guest at the same pleasure house)."
The unfortunate Madame's last thoughts were, most surely: "I should have aimed first for her instead."
Steaminess: ***

Origin: French folklore (gathered from Contes du Nivernais et du Morvan)
You think you know the story of Red Riding Hood since you first heard it in the nursery at the tender age of three or four. The same goes actually for yours truly until she came across the original tale. Well, well, well... before Monsieur Perrault put it into a more gallant style for the young ladies at Versailles, the original tale was far more innocent (said in an ironic tone...):
So there was this young farm girl who always wore a red hooded cloak. She was nicknamed after her trademark accessory. One day, her mum gave her a basket with a freshly-baked bun of bread and a bottle of equally fresh milk and sent her to her ailing grandmother, who lived on the village's outskirts, right in the middle of the woods.
"Nothing different from the nursery tale," I may hear you think. Well, her mother told her to be careful during her walk in the woodlands, lest the bottle of milk should shatter. Even those who either disbelieve in Freudianism or know nothing about it would have raised an eyebrow and picked up the innuendo that a fragile container full of snow-white liquid may stand for a girl's maidenhead.
So on Little Red sauntered through the forest until she came to a fork in the path. And there she met a... WEREWOLF. Yes, there's no average Canis lupus as the villain of the original tale: it was the Big Bad Werewolf. So he asked her: "Where are you going, Li'l Red Riding Hood?"
"I'm taking a hot bun and a bottle of milk to my granny in the woods."
"Are you taking the left-hand path or the one to the right?" the Werewolf asked.
She looked up to the fork in the road and stopped a little to think; the path to the left led up and down soft hills rife with primroses and berry bushes, while the right-hand path disappeared into a dark, thorny stretch of woodland, where Gods know what fearsome beasts might lurk.
(Those of you as well-versed in symbolism as yours truly know that the primrose path is not to be trusted, and the other one is as right as the direction to which it runs... but Li'l Red herself was and is far more innocent.)
"Um... The left-hand path," the girl finally replied.
"Then, I'll go right. Why don't we race one another to your granny's place?"
Of course our little girl agreed to the Big Bad Werewolf's challenge, and soon they parted ways, Li'l Red following her heart to the left, picking primroses and berries to surprise her grandmother, and chasing butterflies.
Finally, hours later, around sunset, she showed up at Granny's door.
"Knock at the door and it will open," the Werewolf said in the sweetest falsetto he could muster from the sickbed where he lurked, wearing the old grandmother's white lace cap on his head.
So Little Red knocked on the door and it opened. "I have brought you a hot bun (though it had already cooled after so many hours) and a bottle of milk, and blueberries and raspberries I've picked along the way!"
"You must be starving, my girl. Why not something heftier?" the same sweet falsetto replied from the bed. "There's pork stew in the pot on the fire, and red wine in that little barrel above."
A sharp pain in the midriff reminded Little Red that her "granny" was right. So she helped herself to a plateful of that ragoût and doubtfully filled a tankard of that wine. She had never tasted strong drink before, and her mum never let her sip one drop at home, saying it was poison (that's some really wise advice that young people nowadays should take to heart). So she had always been curious about what it tasted like. That wine was not that strong; in fact, it had a familiar taste of salted steel that gave our maiden a sense of déjà-vu. The pork was tender and juicy, just as good meat should be.
No longer had she emptied both the stew plate and the tankard, Granny's old cat, who had been napping and sunning herself on the windowsill all this time, awoke and hopped onto the table, hissing and meowing like this:
"Mee-owww! Mee-owww! Naughty girl, naughty girl who eats and drinks her own flesh and blood! Mee-owww!"
Little Red looked to the humanoid form, wearing her grandmother's lace cap and tossing in the bed. It was not pork she had eaten, and neither was it red wine she had washed it down with; in fact, human flesh tastes quite similar to pork, and the taste of blood in her mouth when her milk teeth had fallen out was what had made her feel that déjà vu. Yet she paid no heed to the cat, thinking merely she had fleas or a sunstroke, or maybe both, and still thought the form in bed was her bedridden grandmother.
"Why don't you sleep with me for the night, my girl? You must be exhausted," said form said in the usual falsetto. "First take off your clothes."
So she doffed her apron.
"What should I do with it?" she asked.
"Throw it into the fire," her alleged "granny" replied.
And so she did, lighting the snuffed-out fire on which the macabre long pork stew had been prepared with a tinderbox (a little lighter containing a piece of flint and one of iron ore meant to strike together when the lighter was triggered), even though her mum had warned her not to light any fires at home, not even to light a single candle (that's as sensible advice as the one Little Red's mother gave her about strong drink; that's some really wise advice that young people nowadays should take to heart as well). Into the flames went the lace-lined apron.
"What should I do with my wooden shoes?" she asked upon taking them off.
"Into the fire as well."
And so she did.
"What should I do with my corset?" She had already undone the lace and was ready to take her arms and head out of it.
"Into the fire as well."
And soon the flames were licking the corset too.
"What should I do with my frock?" she asked, her head and arms freeing themselves from the dress she wore on top of her petticoats.
"Into the fire as well."
The frock, which was quite inflammable, was soon burning to a crisp.
"What should I do with my petticoats?" she said, her left leg still inside the petticoats and the right one already out.
"Into the fire."
The petticoats, licked by the flames, burned bright upon the ashes of the frock.
Now she was in underwear, dressed only in socks, a blouse, and bloomers that covered most of her torso and limbs (what a stark contrast to today's underwear!)
"What should I do with my socks?" she asked with her right sock on and her left sock off. The figure in bed pointed once more to the fireplace, and into the flames went both socks.
"What should I do with my bloomers?" Her own left leg was already out of that of the bloomers. "I suppose they go into the fire..." The form in bed nodded as Little Red threw them into the flames.
Now she was nude from the waist downwards.
"What should I do with my blouse?" Once more, her head was inside the garment, but this time it revealed a slender prepubescent waist and a pair of breasts as small and ripe as the fruit on Granny's plum tree.
Once her head, topped with messy hair, and her arms were out of the blouse, it was hastily thrown into the fire as well.
She went into bed, stark naked like Eve, next to whom she thought was Granny, and was a bit startled, worried that the form in bed might not be her grandmother at the end of the day.
"Oh Granny, what hairy limbs you have!"
"The better to stay warm in winter, my dear."
"Oh Granny, what sharp nails you have!"
"The better to scratch myself in the back, my dear."
"Oh Granny, what broad shoulders you have!"
"The better to carry firewood, my dear."
"Oh Granny, what big pointy ears you have!"
"The better to hear you with, my dear."
"Oh Granny, what a big nose you have!"
"The better to smell you with, my dear."
"Oh Granny, what a big mouth you have!"
"The better to EAT YOU WITH, my dear..."
Right, dear reader, you know where this is going. But, in the original tale, as the Big Bad Werewolf lunged at our undressed heroine, the fear that ran through her veins caused her bladder to leak. And, in a flash of inspiration, she found the most unlikely means to escape unscathed.
"Oh, Granny, I have to wee-wee..."
"Do it right here in bed."
"May I do it in the garden? The pong may be too strong for Granny's big fat nose! P-leaaaase!"
"All right," the Werewolf agreed, tying a piece of woolen string to her left ankle to keep her in line.
But, as soon as Little Red was in the garden and had relieved herself, she untied her string anklet and tied it to the plum tree's trunk instead.
In the end, the Big Bad Werewolf got impatient: "What's taking you so long to wee-wee? Did you have to poo-poo as well?"
No reply. He jumped out of bed and saw that his prey had escaped, to run all the way back home.
This folk version does not specify if any huntsmen ever caught the Werewolf, or how her mother reacted to Little Red's nudity when she returned, or if she ever found out that she had eaten her own flesh and blood.
What matters, however, is that she made it home safe and sound.
PS. Another folk version has Red Riding Hood crossing the local river by a bridge made with the village washerwomen's washboards. The Big Bad Werewolf follows her, his weight is too much for the washboards, and he can't swim! After the predator has found a watery grave, there are no details on how her mother reacted to Little Red's nudity when she returned, or if she ever found out that she had eaten her own flesh and blood.
What matters, however, is that she made it home safe and sound.
Gore: *****
Nausea: *****
Steaminess: *****

Origin: Nyanga people of the DR of Congo, word of mouth (gathered from Crash Course Mythology)
We Europeans didn't come to Darkest Africa for the literature in the first place, but rather for more "practical" reasons (for the wood, and the diamonds, and the gold -don't mention the slaves-). Moreover, our Eurocentric point of view states that a national epic has to be written down -if not printed- to be regarded as such.
Anthropologists blew this Eurocentric viewpoint to smithereens with village societies' oral epics such as that of Mwindo, passed down through the centuries by word of mouth. There are even whole storyteller castes whose duty by blood is to record such epics from their parents and pass said epics, in turn, to the next generation. (BTW, I recommend the French Othello retelling Souli, which stars one such tribal storyteller (the titular character), his young European wife (Mona), a young European student come to write down the stories (Carlos), and a good friend of the storyteller who is a European old salt (Yann). PS. Eduardo Noriega stars as Carlos, the Cassio character!)
So, the chieftain of Tubondo village is a power-drunken entrepreneur way ahead of his times. Think of a sub-Saharan Tywin Lannister. All of his seven wives are expecting (there is polygyny among the Nyanga, and more women means more power for the husband -more patriarchal status-), and he expects at least seven healthy baby girls: at least seven fewer mouths to feed -when they move to their husbands' homes- and at least seven times the wedding gifts from the in-laws. If he has at least one bouncing baby boy, however, that ruins his whole plan... so that means a pretty short life for the little lads, and for their respective mums as well...
Flash forward to nine months later. Six of the queens have had a healthy daughter each. The seventh, her husband's favourite, is still expecting... and the telekinetic fetus inside her does all of her household chores for her.
When said expected child sees the light of day, he is obviously male (the chieftain is not amused) and born in extraordinary circumstances: through his mum's navel, walking and talking already as a newborn able to fend for himself (no other infant mammals can accomplish this), with a gnu-tail sceptre held in his little right hand. Something like a magic wand tipped with the tassel at the end of the gnu's tail. Now don't forget this wand, because it's key to the whole epic.
Meet little Mwindo. His father She-Mwindo (literally Dad-of-Mwindo, raising a chicken-or-the-egg question) tries -quite obviously- to get rid of the little lad. Tries to spear him through the chest. Mwindo dodges all the spears. Dad tries to bury him alive, six feet under ground, to suffocate the poor thing. Mwindo claws his way up to the surface like a rabbit (or at least like an aardvark, the closest thing here is in Nyanga country). Dad shoves the baby into a calabash drum, sews it shut, and throws it into the Congo River -if the brat doesn't drown or suffocate, the crocs and/or the hippos will make short work of him, right?- (These attempts make even Cronus burying his kids in his own gut look innocent!)
But the drum is found downstream, and Mwindo is happily adopted and raised (in true Moses style; the fact that he sang his own praises, calling himself "Little One Born Walking," to impress the crocodiles and the hippopotami, also plays a role here!), by his radass paternal aunt Iyangura: how could her brother have turned so heartless in his quest for power? One month after being adopted, when Mwindo is already in his pre-teens (man, he grows really fast, as most demigods do), and has learned of his parentage, he decides to declare war on Tubondo. For retaliation, obviously. On his side he has Iyangura, her husband the Mokele-Mbembe or river serpent (the way it sounds), the serpent's humanoid brothers, who are magical smiths (in a society like the Nyanga, metalworking is literally considered magic), and all the warriors and musicians in their village. Now, the smith-wizard-uncles also gear Mwindo up for war by quartering him like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, severing his limbs one by one and then beheading the little stripling (with or without anesthesia?), and then putting head, torso, and limbs back together like Voltron, resurrecting the New and Improved Upgraded Mwindo.
And he basically uses his sceptre-wand to do everything of notice in the campaign, such as solving his logistical problems -by summoning all the chickens and bananas in Tubondo into camp, he feeds the invading army-, or, what is far more radass, summoning FRICKING LIGHTNING to burn the whole village of Tubondo and everyone within it to the ground, then RESURRECTING everyone after the fire, to notice in shock that She-Mwindo is missing...
Because She-Mwindo, knowing as a veteran warrior that a retreat in time saves nine, has taken the Hitler-in-the-Führerbunker approach by stealthly sneaking down a secret sinkhole chute into the underworld.
But his boy is no one's fool and descends down the same chasm. Down the aardvark hole we go... By an underground spring, he meets Kahindo, the gorgeous goddess of good luck, daughter of Muisa, the Nyanga Hades/Stranger -and She-Mwindo's host-.
Mwindo was astonished. She shone like the rising sun.
Kahindo saw him. “What a splendid young man is Mwindo! I welcome you.” She embraced him a long time. She said, “What has brought you to the land of the gods?”
Mwindo said, “I come to bring home my father.”
Kahindo said, “No one can do this. Only the dead come here, and none return.”
He said, “I will do it.”
She told him, “My father will try to trick you. He will offer you banana beer, which is actually his own urine. You must say, ‘Though I am your guest, shall I drink water that has passed through my host?’ He will offer you banana porridge, which is actually his own stool. You must say, ‘Though I am your guest, shall I eat food that has passed through my host?’ Say these things and you will be safe.”
Mwindo went into the village. The god sat on a stool by the fire. He was an old man with a long beard. He smoked a clay pipe and wore a white goatskin. “Greetings, Mwindo. What has brought you to the land of the gods?”
Mwindo said, “I come to bring home my father.”
The god said, “No one can do this. Only the dead come here, and none return. Your father cannot return. You too cannot return.”
Mwindo sang and danced and waved his gnu-tail wand.
I am Mwindo,
the one born walking,
the one born talking.
My father went to the gods.
Mwindo went there too.
O god of fire,
even you cannot stop me.
O god of death,
even you cannot hold me.
What can you do against me?
Mwindo goes where he wants to go.
The god said, “Is this so? We will see about it. But you have come far. You are thirsty. You must have beer.” He held out a cup.
Mwindo said, “Though I am your guest, shall I drink water that has passed through my host?”
The god said, “You are right! But you have come far. You are hungry. You must have porridge.” He held out a bowl.
Mwindo said, “Though I am your guest, shall I eat food that has passed through my host?”
The god was astonished. “What a clever young man is Mwindo! We must see more of his skill. At sunrise you will start a banana grove. By sundown you will bring ripe bananas. If you do, you can take home your father.”
Now Mwindo enchants, with his magic wand, the agricultural implements the Lord of the Dead has given him to perform this by no means unusual impossible task of growing a crop in one day from dawn to dark (PS. There's no sky in the underworld, so how did they know when the sun rose and set? My headcanon is that sunlight gets in through the sinkhole entrance, helping the underworld gods keep track of time). As we said before, our hero uses his wand to enchant the billhooks, the banana seeds, everything he has been given for the task. Bibbidi bobbidi gnu! There's one ripe banana harvest for the picking! But one success alone is not enough for Muisa. He sends Mwindo to rob a honey tree inhabited by killer bees. Killer fricking bees. Again, that magic tail-wand-sceptre does the trick, by summoning SOME MORE LIGHTNING to strike the honey tree! The bees retreat, but the honey is kept intact and ripe for the taking.
But the Lord of the Dead is not playing for keeps...
The god was astonished. “What a clever young man is Mwindo! We must reward his skill. O Mwindo, take this gift—my belt of cowrie shells.”
And thus, Muisa took off his belt. He threw it at Mwindo. It wrapped itself around him. It squeezed him. Mwindo could not pull it off. Mwindo could not breathe. He dropped his wand. He fell to the ground. He died. His body lay in the dust.
The god laughed. “What a foolish boaster is Mwindo! Did the god of fire not stop him? Did the god of death not hold him?”
He saw the wand rise up. He cried out. “Aieeeeeee! What is this?”
The wand swatted the belt—once, twice, three times. The belt dropped away. The wand swatted Mwindo—once, twice, three times. Mwindo breathed. He rose and took the wand in hand.
Mwindo picked up the belt. He threw it at his opponent. It wrapped itself around him. It squeezed him. The god could not pull it off. The god could not breathe. He fell to the ground. He died. His body lay in the dust.
Mwindo sang and danced and waved his wand:
I am Mwindo,
the one born walking,
the one born talking.
My father went to the gods.
Mwindo went there too.
The god of fire tried to stop me,
but Mwindo stopped the god.
The god of death tried to hold me,
but Mwindo held the god.
What could he do against me?
Mwindo goes where he wants to go.
The son will find his father.
The father will face his son.
Kahindo came there. She saw the god lying in the dust. “What is this? O Mwindo, you came to bring home your father. But now my father is dead!”
Mwindo stopped dancing. He was sad to see Muisa dead. He swatted him with his sceptre—once, twice, three times. “First you sleep, now you awake.”
The Lord of the Dead was resurrected. He said, “What a great man is Mwindo! What can anyone do against you? Take home your father.”
Of course Mwindo goes through many more adventures. Including one where he bests the Maker of the Universe at odds and evens (that game where you must guess how many fingers, or seeds, or stones, your opponent has on their back). 
And one where his craving for pork and the subsequent hunt for it lead to an epic dragon fight -the warthogs' watering hole was next to the den of a dragon that preyed on the thirsty hogs-. 
He is offered Kahindo as a fiancée but wisely and humbly declines the hand of the goddess, preferring a half-dozen decent mortal queens for wives.
And of course he reconciles with his dad at the end of the day.
But not before refusing the Stranger's food and beer, or strangling and resurrecting him (What happens to death deities after they die? And wasn't it sensible to bring Muisa back?)!
Gore: *****
Nausea: *****

Origin: Classical myth, retold by Ovid and put into song by Genesis.
When I was 11, I came for the first time across this myth, one entirely absent from my child-oriented books. It was as a song in the Genesis album Nursery Cryme, and it became one of the stories that have shaped my life. The 70s quintet was inspired to adapt this story from Book IV of Ovid's Metamorphoses into a song, the last one on Nursery Cryme, that has become part of my life's soundtrack. This is the story of one of the most unsung bastards ever descended from classical deities, and that of a freshwater nymph waaaay ahead of her times.
This version combines the lyrics with a seventeenth-century translation of the story told by Ovid:

The Fountain Of Salmacis

The Naiads nurst an infant heretofore,
That Cytherea once to Hermes bore:  
From both th' illustrious authors of his race  
The child was nam'd, nor was it hard to trace  
Both the bright parents thro' the infant's face.

From a dense forest of tall, dark, pinewood,
Mount Ida rises like an island.
Within a hidden cave, nymphs had kept a child;
Hermaphroditus, son of gods,
so afraid of their love.

When fifteen years in Ida's cool retreat
The boy had told, he left his native seat,  
And sought fresh fountains in a foreign soil...

As the dawn creeps up the sky
The hunter caught sight of a doe.
In desire for conquest,
He found himself, within a glade
he'd not beheld before.

Hermaphroditus: “Where are you my father.
Give wisdom to your son.”
Narrator: “Then he could go no farther.
Now lost, the boy was guided by the sun”

And as his strength began to fail
He saw a shimmering lake.

It shew'd the bottom in a fairer light,
Nor kept a sand conceal'd from human sight.
The stream produc'd nor slimy ooze, nor weeds,  
Nor miry rushes, nor the spiky reeds;  
But dealt enriching moisture all around,  
The fruitful banks with chearful verdure crown'd,  
And kept the spring eternal on the ground.

A shadow in the dark green depths

Disturbed the strange tranquility.

A nymph presides, not practis'd in the chase,  
Nor skilful at the bow, nor at the race;

Her sisters often, as 'tis said, wou'd cry,  
"Fie Salmacis: what, always idle! fie.  
Or take thy quiver, or thy arrows seize,  
And mix the toils of hunting with thy ease."  
Nor quiver she nor arrows e'er wou'd seize,  
Nor mix the toils of hunting with her ease.
But oft would bathe her in the crystal tide,  
Oft with a comb her dewy locks divide;  
Now in the limpid streams she views her face,  
And drest her image in the floating glass:  
On beds of leaves she now repos'd her limbs,  
Now gather'd flow'rs that grew about her streams,

Salmacis: “The waters are disturbed

Some creature has been stirred”
Narrator: “The waters are disturbed
The naiad queen Salmacis has been…

As he rushed to quench his thirst,
A fountain spring appeared before him
And as his heated breath
brushed through the cool mist,
A liquid voice called “Son of gods,
drink from my spring”.

The water tasted strangely sweet.
Behind him the voice called again.
He turned and saw her, in a cloak of mist alone
And as he gazed, her eyes were filled
with the darkness of the lake.

Salmacis: “We shall be one.
We shall be joined as one”

"Bright youth," she cries, "whom all thy features prove  
A God, and, if a God, the God of love;

Blest are thy parents, and thy sisters blest:

But oh how blest! how more than blest thy bride,

Ally'd in bliss, if any yet ally'd.

If so, let mine the stol'n enjoyments be;

If not, behold a willing bride in me!"

Narrator: “She wanted them as one.

Yet he had no desire to be one”

The boy knew nought of love, and toucht with shame,  
He strove, and blusht, but still the blush became:  
In rising blushes still fresh beauties rose;  
The sunny side of fruit such blushes shows,  
And such the moon, when all her silver white  
Turns in eclipses to a ruddy light.
The nymph still begs, if not a nobler bliss,  
A cold salute at least, a sister's kiss:  
And now prepares to take the lovely boy  
Between her arms. He, innocently coy,  
Replies, "Or leave me to myself alone,  
You rude uncivil nymph, or I'll be gone."
"Fair stranger then," says she, "it shall be so";  
And, for she fear'd his threats, she feign'd to go:  
But hid within a covert's neighbouring green,  
She kept him still in sight, herself unseen.
The boy now fancies all the danger o'er,
And innocently sports about the shore,  
Playful and wanton to the stream he trips,
And dips his foot, and shivers as he dips.
The coolness pleas'd him, and with eager haste  
His airy garments on the banks he cast;
His godlike features, and his heav'nly hue,  
And all his beauties were expos'd to view.  
His naked limbs the nymph with rapture spies,  
While hotter passions in her bosom rise,  
Flush in her cheeks, and sparkle in her eyes.
She longs, she burns to clasp him in her arms,  
And looks, and sighs, and kindles at his charms.
Now all undresssed upon the banks he stood,  
And clapt his sides, and leapt into the flood:  
His lovely limbs the silver waves divide,  
His limbs appear more lovely through the tide;  
As lilies shut within a crystal case
Receive a glossy lustre from the glass.  
He's mine, he's all my own, the Naiad cries,  
And flings off all, and after him she flies.
And now she fastens on him as he swims,  
And holds him close, and wraps about his limbs.  
The more the boy resisted, and was coy,  
The more she clipt, and kissed the struggling boy.

Hermaphroditus: “Away from me 

cold-blooded woman. Your thirst is not mine”

Salmacis: “Nothing will cause us to part

Hear me O gods”

The restless boy still obstinately strove
To free himself, and still refus'd her love.
Amidst his limbs she kept her limbs entwined,
"And why, coy youth," she cries, "why thus unkind!
Oh may the Gods thus keep us ever joined!
Oh may we never, never part again!"

Unearthly calm descended from the sky
And then their flesh and bones
were strangely merged
Forever to be joined as one.

For now she finds him, as his limbs she prest,
Grow nearer still, and nearer to her breast;
'Till, piercing each the other's flesh, they run
Together, and incorporate in one:
Last in one face are both their faces join'd,
As when the stock and grafted twig combin'd
Shoot up the same, and wear a common rind.

The creature crawled into the lake
A fading voice was heard:
“And I beg, that all who touch this spring
may share my fate”

(He prayed, but wonder'd at his softer tone,
Surprised to hear a voice but half his own.)
You parent-gods, whose heav'nly names I bear,
Hear your Hermaphroditus, grant my prayer;
Oh grant, that whomsoe'er these streams contain,
If man he enter'd, he may rise again
Supple, unsinew'd, and but half a man!

The heav'nly parents answer'd from on high,
Their two-shaped son, the double votary,
Then gave a secret virtue to the flood,
And tinged its source to make his wishes good.

Salmacis: “We are the one, we are the one”
Narrator: “The two are now made one.
Demi-god and nymph are now made one”

Both had given everything they had.
A lover's dream had been fulfilled at last,
Forever still beneath the lake.
Did you know?
  1. When I first heard the Genesis song, I learned a new classical myth that I didn't know before! I thought it was a secret, but it turned out that there are more people who know it!
  2. When I first heard the Genesis song, there was a word neither Dad nor I knew that we had to look up in our Swedish-English dictionary. It was the first time in my life I looked up a word: the verb "to quench", which still speaks of inquiry to me (but they'll never quench my thirst for knowledge).
  3. Another powerful female that Genesis introduced me to was Lilith, the zeroth woman (look up "Lilywhite Lilith" on YouTube).
  4. My obsession with Hermaphroditus and Salmacis took place from my 11th year of age to the 15th, during all of my puberty, until I had started bleeding. Then, I had discovered Othello in a reader in a local bookshop... Was all of that by chance?
Steaminess: *****

Origin: Spanish joke, told by my dad
This was a joke my dad told at the workplace, back when I was a child, that made everyone laugh for ages. Two years ago, I wanted to tell it at University, but he wouldn't tell me more than that it was about a giant frog, croaking every now and then, and thus, I hatched a plan to ply him with drink while I faked that I was asleep, when I was actually eavesdropping, recording the whole story in my memory.
It all takes place in the two-star inn in a quaint village in deepest, darkest Spain, let's say Castile or La Mancha. What surprises visiting strangers the most is the inn's unusual pet: within a macaw cage, next to the registration book, a frog the size of a grown man's hand (think of a bullfrog or a Goliath frog) rhythmically pumps air into its throat.
One evening, a lady in her fifties enters the inn. She is sharply dressed, dignified, good-looking in spite of her age. Quite obviously, she is a woman of the world, an aristocrat or actress or model, who has seen better days in decades past. And quite obviously, she cannot help to notice the caged frog as well: "Why do you keep such an unusual pet?"
Upon her inquiry, the fortyish concierge (think of Gustave at the Grand Budapest) replies in a suave voice, locking eyes with the distinguished guest: "Our frog is there to please ladies who have grown weary and cannot feel any more pleasure," he says, as he seductively, with a wink of his left eye, hands the diva the key to her room. "If you desire, you may ask for the frog any time tonight, and we will bring you him on a silver platter."
The diva undresses, puts on her négligée, lies sprawled in her bed with her remote in her right hand, hops channels to the latest episode of Game of Thrones, and indulges in her favourite series for a whole hour. As soon as the end credits appear, she seizes her remote once more and hops from channel to channel. War in Ukraine? Ewwww. Hop! SpongeBob? No, thanks. Hop! Curling? I don't watch curling. Hop! She hops through every channel in the well-assorted TV before she wearily turns it off.
Nothing can be heard but the chirping of crickets in the Castilian July night, until the bells in the village clocktower strike ten. Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong!
Minutes pass by like ages. She cannot sleep, and she would gladly have some pleasure. The church bells strike eleven: Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Finally, the lady saunters downstairs in her négligée, to find the concierge still on his post, and tells him that she'd like to have the giant frog for the night. She thanks the concierge and goes to bed once more.
Five minutes later, she hears a knock on the door and opens it. The concierge enters the room, carrying a silver platter covered with a dome, like they have at fancy five-star restaurants, and tells the diva to undress and lie on her back on the covers of her bed. After she has done so, he uncovers the platter to reveal the frog, which he places on the guest's solar plexus, facing her face. The frog feels cold and clammy, which makes her wince, but still she thanks the concierge as he leaves her room. He has also given her his mobile number, to contact him should there be any problem with the frog.
Minutes pass. The frog just stares at our heroine with its bright googly eyes, without doing anything more than the kindness of shooting out its tongue to catch incoming mosquitoes every now and then, and pumping its throat as it breathes, like all frogs do, and croaking: "Ribbit. Ribbit."
Midnight. Twelve peals from the clocktower: Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! The lady has now grown accustomed to the cold feel of the frog on her belly. The amphibian does nothing more than catch mosquitoes with its tongue, pump air into its throat, and croak in a monotone sound: "Ribbit. Ribbit." Within the bedroom, time moves at the speed of a constipated Galápagos tortoise. Eventually, a single peal: Dong! "Ribbit. Ribbit." At one AM, having lost her last grain of patience, having grown weary of the frog not doing anything to please her, she, still lying on the table, phones the concierge on the number he gave her, and turns on the light.
Downstairs, the concierge and his wife are lying in bed when he is suddenly awakened by the ringing of his mobile phone (Ringtone: Gran Vals by Francesc Tàrrega: "Laralalla, laralalla, laralallalaaaa!" [most famous as the Nokia jingle]). He saunters out of bed, still in his pyjamas, and carries out the conversation with his complaining guest in a soft voice for his wife not to hear anything. Then, he saunters out of the room and upstairs as stealthily and swiftly as a ninja, dressed in his zebra-striped pyjamas, with the frog cage on its back.
"Ribbit. Ribbit." The amphibian croaks on the lonely woman's midsection when the man enters. In a fit of rage, with blood-shot eyes and frothy lips, he berates his pet: "Stupid frog!! You cold-blooded, pea-brained beast!! This is the last time I show you the way you're supposed to do!!!" As he hits the frog on the clammy green head, he swiftly shoves her into his breast pocket, takes off his pyjamas shirt to reveal a hairy and well-sculptured bar of white chocolate, pops the shirt into the frog cage and tosses it into a corner of the dark bedroom. Then, taking off his trousers to display a derrière and thighs as white and well-shaped as those of Michaelangelo's David, he tucks himself into the covers of the guest's bed, sensually whispering in her left ear to get under the covers as well...

Origin: Spanish joke, told by a pre-teen boy at sailing school
He was of an age between 10 and 13, and had a typical name for a Spanish stripling his short age, such as David or Fran or Víctor (I cannot remember exactly). Dark of features and right-handed, and pretty much the quintessential naughty boy. We were in the same boat, literally. And, as we were sailing across the waters of Grao de Castellón and told of knots and ropes and steering our sailboat, he often entertained us with jokes he knew. I was in my mid-teens when we became friends and he told these two "Two foreigners and a Spaniard" jokes on the boat... Here is one of them:
A German, a Frenchman, and a Spaniard are backpacking. They reach a roadside inn at twilight and decide to check in. First in walks the German, while the others wait outside, and asks for room for himself and his companions.
The concierge says that the only option will be the only double room in the whole inn, Room 8, and that it's already half-occupied by a sexy Latina prostitute called Cocos del Caribe ("Coconuts of the Caribbean"). The German says that he won't be bothered. He leaves and tells the other two his plan: they will encamp outside the inn while he shares Room 8 with Cocos del Caribe, and, the next morning, tell them how his experience has been if they are interested. The Frenchman and the Spaniard agree.
That night, while his friends encamp outside the inn, the German shares Room 8 with the sexy Latina. After supper, in their bedroom, she undresses from the waist upwards, doffing her jacket, her blouse, and her Wonderbra, jiggling her massive golden cannonballs as she wistfully sings:
"Cocos del Caribe, Cocos del Caribe..."
The German is stunned. Like, so stunned by her sexiness that the cholesterol around his massive Bavarian beer heart begins to gather in high amounts. Clutching the left side of his chest and wincing, screaming, racked with searing pain, lightheaded, he collapses as Cocos gloats at his dying form, not calling for any help, phoning 112, or using the defibrillator in the room.
The next day, as he watches the German hidden in a hearse trunk, leaving for the nearest cemetery, the Frenchman tells his friend from south of the Pyrinees that now it is his turn to share Room 8, while the Spaniard encamps outside.
So that night, after supper, in their bedroom, the Latina undresses from the waist upwards, doffing her jacket, her blouse, and her Wonderbra, jiggling her massive golden cannonballs as she wistfully sings:
"Cocos del Caribe, Cocos del Caribe..."
The Frenchman is so overwhelmed by such a stunning sight that his whole right half goes numb from crown to toe. His right eye is clouded, veiled, and he feels lightheaded. Then, everything turns dark before his eyes as he collapses. Turns out he had a blood clot in his brain, and he's had a stroke. Cocos gloats at his dying form, not calling for any help, phoning 112, or using the defibrillator in the room.
The next day, as he watches the Frenchman hidden in a hearse trunk, leaving for the nearest cemetery, the only backpacker left is hell-bent on solving the mystery of his two friends' deaths and if Cocos del Caribe is really that dangerous. And thus, he checks into the cursed room, telling the concierge, in a loud and dramatic Spanish voice, that he IS NOT AFRAID AT ALL OF COCOS DEL FRICKING CARIBE!!!
So that night, after supper, in their bedroom, the Latina undresses from the waist upwards, doffing her jacket, her blouse, and her Wonderbra, jiggling her massive golden cannonballs as she wistfully sings:
"Cocos del Caribe, Cocos del Caribe..."
The Spaniard does not even flinch. Rather, he takes off his belt, unzips his trousers, out with the left leg, out with the right leg, off with those zebra-striped underpants. Then, he begins to rub his trouser snake until it's hard as steel, then he points his organ at Cocos del Caribe as if he were aiming a gun at her, as he wistfully sings to the same tune:
"Chorizo de Pamplona, Chorizo de Pamplona..."
And Cocos del Caribe stands there aghast, speechless, before she surrenders and acknowledges that she has met her Waterloo. Then, they undress completely, lift the bedsheets, and drift away towards their mutual randy dreamland...

Origin: Spanish joke, told by the same pre-teen boy at sailing school
The other "Two foreigners and a Spaniard" joke told by this stripling was a sinister ghost story with a hilarious ending, which begins with the same premise:
A German, a Frenchman, and a Spaniard are backpacking. They reach a roadside inn at twilight and decide to check in. First in walks the German, while the others wait outside, and asks for room for himself and his companions.
The concierge says that the only option will be the only free room in the whole inn, Room 13, which is haunted by the spirit of a military officer with a gash across his left eye, who died during a war, when the inn was a provisional frontline hospital. The German says that he won't be afraid of any ghosts. He leaves and tells the other two his plan: they will encamp outside the inn while he spends the night in the haunted Room 13, and, the next morning, tell them how his experience has been if they are interested. The Frenchman and the Spaniard agree.
That night, while his friends encamp outside the inn, the German spends the night in the haunted Room 13, watching Game of Thrones and the Bayern vs. Borussia semifinal of the Bundesliga. Then, excited after seeing that the Bayern won the game, he turns the TV off, but the excitement of victory makes it hard for him to sleep. Suddenly, ten peals ring from a nearby clocktower. Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! As soon as the tenth knell is silenced, in through the wall walks a sinister-looking, lean man in period uniform. Across the left side of his face there appears to be an open wound.
In a sinister-sounding monotone baritone, the ghost chants: "LOOK AT MY GASH..."
The German, wincing from the strong odour of gangrene that fills the room, turns as pale as his bedsheet and has no choice but to obey, pointing his trusty flashlight at the ghost. The gash on the left side of his face is decayed and full of writhing, white maggots. His left eye, a clouded, cataracted orb, is slashed vertically, dripping vitreous humour and also full of the same disgusting larvae.
Our German cannot bear the sight. He drops the flashlight, turns his back, opens the window, and leaps out through the bedsheet he wanted to use as a rope. The bedsheet coils around his throat like a noose, and makes it snap.
The next day, seeing their mutual friend hanging from a bedsheet noose out the window and pecked at by a whole flock of carrion crows, the Frenchman and the Spaniard cannot but feel a little twinge of guilt. Still, the former decides to check into Room 13, to find out how the German died (and if there is really a haunting!), while the Spaniard will encamp outside. The Frenchman, during the leave-taking, tells his friend from south of the Pyrinees that he is not afraid of ghosts.
So, that night, the Frenchman spends the night in the haunted Room 13, watching Game of Thrones, then a documentary about the mating habits of Adélie penguins, then another documentary about the Antikythera device. And then, he turns the TV off and wraps himself in his bedsheets.
Suddenly, ten peals ring from a nearby clocktower. Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! As soon as the tenth knell is silenced, in through the wall walks a sinister-looking, lean man in period uniform. Across the left side of his face there appears to be an open wound.
In a sinister-sounding monotone baritone, the ghost chants: "LOOK AT MY EYE..."
The Frenchman, wincing from the strong odour of gangrene that fills the room, turns as pale as his bedsheet and has no choice but to obey, pointing his trusty flashlight at the ghost. The gash on the left side of his face is decayed and full of writhing, white maggots. His left eye, a clouded, cataracted orb, is slashed vertically, dripping vitreous humour and also full of the same disgusting larvae.
Having eaten heartily before turning on the idiot box to check out the doings of Arya Stark and Tyrion Lannister, our Frenchman, feeling his entrails twist and turn as if he had swallowed live snakes, regrets having had such a supper. He reaches into the bathroom for the porcelain god, retching and staggering, and, when he finally bends the knee, sensing the ghost behind him, he becomes an uncontrollable vomit volcano, moreover, a good quantity of his own spew goes down the wrong way and fills his lungs. And he drowns, as the acid corrodes those lungs from within.
The next day, as he watches the Frenchman hidden in a hearse trunk, leaving for the nearest cemetery, the only backpacker left is hell-bent on solving the mystery of his two friends' deaths and if Room 13 is really haunted. And thus, he checks into the cursed room, telling the concierge, in a loud and dramatic Spanish voice, that he IS NOT AFRAID OF ANY MOFO GHOSTS AT ALL!!!
That night, after watching Game of Thrones, Rome, Fawlty Towers, and Blackadder, our Spaniard finally turns the TV off and makes himself comfortable in bed.
Suddenly, ten peals ring from a nearby clocktower. Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! As soon as the tenth knell is silenced, in through the wall walks a sinister-looking, lean man in period uniform. Across the left side of his face there appears to be an open wound.
In a sinister-sounding monotone baritone, the ghost chants: "LOOK AT MY GASH..."
The Spaniard, wincing from the strong odour of gangrene that fills the room, turns as pale as his bedsheet and has no choice but to obey, pointing his trusty flashlight at the ghost. The gash on the left side of his face is decayed and full of writhing, white maggots. His left eye, a clouded, cataracted orb, is slashed vertically, dripping vitreous humour and also full of the same disgusting larvae.
However, surprisingly, courage returns to his heart, and colour to his face, as he stands up and pulls down his ladybug pyjamas trousers, then his checkered underpants, and moons at the lost soul while running his left fingers through the crack between his glutei maximi and replying LOUDER, in the most sinister voice he can muster, looking over his left shoulder, with a defiant look in his dark eyes: "LOOK AT MY GASH!!"
The ghost, however, makes the air grow cold and reek of gangrene even more, yet our Spaniard, unabashed, does not even waver. And, when the ghost once more says: "LOOK AT MY EYE..."
...the unafraid Spaniard points left-handed at his own anus, in the middle of his "gash," and replying EVEN LOUDER, in the most sinister voice he can muster, looking over his left shoulder, with an even more defiant look in his dark eyes: "LOOK AT MY EYE!!!"
The ghost turns its translucent back and retreats through the wall. Ever since, he has not even for once haunted Room 13.


Origin: British joke, gathered from Wikipedia
An Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotsman are discussing the infidelities of their respective wives.
"I think my Lydia is having a liaison with an electrician," George the Englishman says.
"And why?" his two friends ask him.
"I found a toolbox under our bed. A toolbox full of pliers, cables..."
"Well," Andrew the Scotsman replies, "Meg my wife is, I think, having an affair with a plumber. Last morning, I found a wrench and a plunger under our bed!"
"Well, something far worse has happened to me!" Paddy the Irishman intervenes. "I think me Kathleen is cheating on me with a horse!"
Awkward silence. The other two men don't know what to say. Uttering the reply "I once heard you Irish shagged sheep, but... horses?" would be too gauche and too disrespectful.
Realizing that no one will speak, Paddy finally breaks the silence: "And why? 'Cauze I found a jockey under our bed!!!"


Origin: Swedish joke, gathered from a joke book
In Sweden, Stockholm-born 18th-century poet Carl Michael Bellman plays often the part of the fool or trickster in "three nationalities jokes," similar to the Spaniard and Paddy the Irishman in the jokes above. The premise is nearly always "A Dane, a Norwegian, and Bellman" ("En dansk, en norrman och Bellman") to represent all of Scandinavia, the victorious or deviant Swede breaking the rule-of-three pattern (very like the Spaniard in the Spanish jokes). In this witty piece of military humour, Bellman is, however, grouped with two of his countrymen (whom I have given regional accents!) due to the constraints of the setting, but still he shines at his finest.
When Bellman did his military service, he once caught tonsillitis, and thus, he was sent to the regimental hospital to undergo surgery. There were two other privates who had to be under the knife: a Scanian and one from the West Coast. That morning, before their surgery, a great three-star general who was visiting the regiment was guided into the hospital, and he seized the opportunity to interview all three young rankers, to see what the new generation of Swedish men had to offer.
And thus, the general turned towards the first of the three men and asked him: "Which complaint do you suffer from, Private?"
The private replied, in a thick Scanian accent: "Haemorrhoids, Herr General."
"What kind of treatment do you want, Private?"
"Topical application of silver nitrate sticks, Herr General!"
"What is your innermost desire, Private?"
"To regain my state of health, so I can once more be a strong, able man ready to fight for Crown and country, Herr General!"
Then, the general turned to the second man and asked him the same questions: "Which complaint do you suffer from, Private?"
The private replied, in a thick Gothenburg accent: "Haemorrhoids, Herr General."
"What kind of treatment do you want, Private?"
"Topical application of silver nitrate sticks, Herr General!"
"What is your innermost desire, Private?"
"To become someday a great military commander such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Gustavus Adolphus, or you, Herr General!"
Finally, the General turned towards Private Bellman and asked him the same questions: asked him: "Which complaint do you suffer from, Private?"
Bellman replied: "Tonsillitis, Herr General."
"What kind of treatment do you want, Private?"
"Topical application of silver nitrate sticks, Herr General!"
"What is your innermost desire, Private?"
"To be the first patient on whom the sticks are applied, Herr General!"


Origin: Internet, word of mouth (February 2018)
It's been like two years since my last dirty story (well, half a year: I got to know Mwindo thanks to Crash Course Mythology), so I thought maybe
Paris dans la Belle Époque, on a late Friday night. A half-drunken Grantaire, wishing to have a roll in the hay, goes to this pleasure-house. The Madame says all wenches are busy (Friday night and all that...) except for one. Of course Claire is one-eyed, but she makes up for it with flowing golden tresses and a voluptuous physique. Oh, and, while she orally satisfies you, she can sing La Marseillaise.
So he's intrigued, thinking... does she really sing the national anthem while sucking lollipops, at the same time? That sounds unusual and exciting! Of course he says oui.
So he enters the room and sees this figure-eight-shaped hottie in a lacy black négligée, a wisp of her flowing golden hair covering her right eye to make her look more sultry. And of course she's too sexy to be human.
So the blonde, One-Eyed Claire, puts out the light and tells him not to turn it on, because the magic works only in the dark and it would fade away if the light was on. He agrees, right hand upon his heart, and she begins to sing in an angelic soprano voice: "Allons enfants de la patri-i-ie..." as he hears a tinkling sound he can't identify, assuming that it's the magic...
When Claire is already well steeped in her task and singing the refrain for the third time, however, he cannot resist the temptation, fumbling for the light and hastily turning it on, to reveal, upon the nightstand table, a blood-curdling sight.
There, peering at him from a glass of water upon the nightstand table, lies a

Nausea: ** (for me: it depends on how you rate glass eyes)
Steaminess: *****

Origin: Pentamerone / local folktale from the Castellón Province
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Even centuries before Jane Austen, every matchmaker through the ages has known this as expertly as only matchmakers can. One such foxy old matchmaker was the unfortunate villainess of this tale, which I have found in both local tradition of the homeland and the Pentamerone. In this version, I take the Castellonian tale and embellish it a bit here and there with details from the Pentamerone, actually. If you read that the prince "embarked on a pirate galley when he had bought the tickets to a pleasure cruise," that is a metaphor worth a toast to old Count Basile! So... west of Castellón town there are mountains. There is a little red hill called the Little Red Hill, literally (Penyeta Roja in Catalan/Valencian). Now there's a prep school up there, but, centuries ago, there was an isolated cottage where two practically friendless old maids lived together: Rosella, a seventyish crone (who had been quite the looker in her youth, a hottie elected May Queen every springtime), and her one decade older sister Margalida (who had been rather homely, kind of Grantaire-level homely, the ugly duckling of the shire). The two old crones of the Little Red Hill lived gathering snow, which they sold in the plain towns, in winter; and in the warm seasons they did needlework with the sheep's wool which they had picked from thornbushes. And their few friends and acquaintances... it was because Margalida was the local matchmaker.
So one day the word got round that the viceroy himself was coming over from Valencia, with his lady wife and their eldest son, an aloof young man of rank who was still single and of marriageable age. Fair, blond, cool, eyes of icy blue... long story short, a carbon copy of Draco Malfoy and/or Enjolras. And of course, as soon as she heard it in the nearest tavern, and from the shepherds of that place, Margalida decided to hook up her sister with the viceroy's son and heir. Because... It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Right? Eh? All Rosella has to do is hide in the storage cupboard (which is also like an overground cellar) and suck her pinky fingers, showing those two fingertips through the keyhole and speaking in that velvety mezzo voice of hers, that has not cracked into a cackle with the years, but remains a primadonna's. "Lemme do the explaining." Li'l sis agrees; she knows big sis is as shrewd as any good matchmaker should be, always knowing where Satan has his tail (it's right above his anus, at the top of the crack between the glutes, BTW).
So in comes the lilywhite, fair prince, weary after just one day in Castellón; they stay at the local marquises', but, for the record, he is not that fond of courtly or society life in Valencia either. For he's a good old-school Sturm und Drang Romantic of the kind that loves rambling around ruins and wastelands and lonely coasts and pondering on existentialist issues. But even the dreamiest of Sturm und Drang Romantics can get weighed down by heat, and thirst, and fatigue; and thus, behold our young hero, as red in the face as a lobster thermidor, rapping at the door of the cottage of the Little Red Hill. An old lady opens the door; he bows before her, dropping the tricorn hat, and, after eagerly draining a cold glass of water, he hears a folk tune, a lovely singing voice coming from the storage cupboard. "It's my granddaughter, my only daughter's girl... the poor little thing! Ever since her parents died and I took her in, she has always been light-shy. Sunlight is just too strong for her eyes; the poor thing would else lose her eyesight... So she can only peek her pinky fingertips through the keyholes during the day... and furthermore, she's so fragile that a petal of jasmine falling upon her shoulder would break her collarbone!"
Cue Prince Draco all interested. Shot through the heart with a slug of fire, right between the nipples, as he sighs most feverishly... A gem in the rough... an orphan, and too sensitive to face the light of day! Reality even surpasses fiction! No matter her rank, he will coax his parents and advisors until they give in to his claim for this morganatic marriage, he thinks as he passionately kisses the two little rosebud-like fingertips.
For about three or four days, until his return to Valencia, the young prince can do nothing but frequent the cottage, kiss those little rosy pinkies, and daydream about his sweetheart, pining for the pinkies. And, back in the capital, all that coaxing really pays off. Soon, a messenger in gold-laced livery drops by at the sisters' at the Little Red Hill with an invitation to the viceroy's palace...
"Rosella... we're getting married up, aren't we! Finally got you a match, and we're going down to catch the very first stagecoach we can get... Masked ball, in Valencia, at the viceroy's! Your prince charming is waiting so eagerly for you that he's having a fever..."
And off they go!
Since it's a masked ball, no one at the soirée sees through the disguises that both the guests from the Little Red Hill are old crones. That's why masked balls have always been so convenient for disguising one's identity. Furthermore, Margalida has tied back all the wrinkles in her sister's saggy skin into buns at the nape of Rosella's neck and on her back, to make her look even younger. And thus, when night falls and the prince and his bride are finally en tête-à-tête in her bedchamber... stark naked and practically drenched in perfume... in the dark of the night and within the curtains of that bed with embroidered silken curtains... and ready for a passionate session of hanky-panky... when he notices the lump on the nape of his fiancée's neck and the one on her back... and, curious as he is, unties these knots, being the most intrigued, so that her saggy skin unravels... What a Pandora's box he has just opened; and, pretending at first that it was nothing, he boards a pirate galley, having booked and purchased the tickets for a pleasure cruise... But, as soon, as she has fallen asleep, her prince decides to light a candle and have a peek at her in the dim light of the flame. Imagine his reaction when he finds a gorgon instead of the nymph he thought he had bedded! The reveal, like a literal gorgon's gaze, froze him as if he had been made of stone, at first. Then, about half an hour later, the rage.
In a fit of rage, he quickly and deftly defenestrates the old crone, wrapped up in her bedclothes like a spring roll. Luckily, she lands on a myrtle shrubbery right by the garden wall, and the bedclothes also provide some padding for her to land unscathed, as some university students are walking close by.
Now the UV (the University of Valencia) has been around ever since the days of the Catholic Royals and the Borgia Pope. Which means centuries. Throughout which there have been most illustrious graduates and lecturers, of the caliber of Lluís Vives, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, or this quintet of young sorcerers who have so far eluded the eagle eye of the Holy Office by means of acting the most muggle-style they can seem in the broad light of day, posing as completely normal UV students. And they are kind-hearted enough, and sober enough, as they lead their common bohemian student nightlife playing in their music band, passing by the mansions of the swells and peeking into their gardens, to notice the injured old lady on the viceroy's myrtle shrubbery and put a secret healing spell upon her. The charm works a little too well, restoring the crone to her beautiful and healthy youth. No golden Rapunzel lily, no fire priestess mojo, no plastic surgery. They motion to her to look into the koi pond and she gasps at seeing her reflection just like she was decades ago, in her late teens or early twenties. Waow!
After thanking the kind sorcerers and promising to keep their secret, all the while covering her melons and her bunny just like the Venus of Botticelli (she was stark naked, remember?), she falls fast asleep in the shade of the shrubbery, noticed by the gardeners in the morn of the next day. Clothed and presented to the viceroy's family, as an alleged Naked Cat Burglar of Russafa that no one remembers even yet, the stranger maiden... makes herself known to her fiancé by looking at those pinky fingers. And he recognises her: no other maiden he has ever met had such soft, silky rosebuds...
Soon, the bells in the Micalet tower of the Cathedral are pealing for a viceroyal wedding, and the old matchmaker from Castellón, having been given an invite, is present at the festivities of her alleged "grandchild's" (sister's) marriage. Fountains of Requena wine and anise liquor by day, rainbows of fireworks in the night... but all those revels and all the celebrated guests cannot but rouse old Margalida's hatred and envy. En tête-à-tête with the princess bride, she is told by Rosella how the latter was rejuvenated: "I was flayed alive, and had my skin ironed." She could have told any other white lie, but apparently she was quite pissed at her older sister for betraying her at the masked ball incident. And quite sadistic, knowing how much her sister took things to heart.
As a child, I tried out several "IDEAS!" from Zipi y Zape, a comic strip about trickster kids, and all I got in exchange was chiding and slaps in the face. So I know what it's like to take something to heart that much. And thus, here is a little warning for you, dear reader: never, ever, ever, have yourself flayed alive. No matter how curious and/or how masochistic you might be.
Back in Castellón, after doing the housework, an envious Margalida heads right across town towards the local tanneries; these were located on the eastern outskirts, outside the walls of Castellón and facing the Mediterranean sea breeze to mask the unmistakable odour of tanned animal hides (Nowadays, there is a street in my own district called Calle Tenerías on that very spot, to honour the site of this maligned trade). Every day, the master tanner and his apprentices got at least two or three dead rabbits to skin. That day, however, all of them were surprised by the appearance of the old matchmaker. Not even a bunny in hand. Commanding them to flay her alive, then tan her skin and iron all the wrinkles off.
Of course neither the master tanner nor his 'prentices were of the Ramsay Bolton persuasion, trying as much as I have done in my Lemony warning above to dissuade Margalida, but her stubborn will and imperious coaxing proved too much for them to handle.
It would be gruesome to describe what being flayed alive is like. The sole thought of it makes me wince. The burning all over the naked muscle exposed like a Titan's in Attack on Titans. The pain of losing all your vital fluids as they evaporate, without even the smallest pore to perspire, even losing enough blood to lapse into hypovolemic shock and ultimately die. As a gesture of mercy from the Grim Reaper after hours of excruciating sufferings.
It is not known whether the tanners began to flay her at the inner thighs, at the calves, or at the buttocks. What is known, however, is how much pain she was racked with for the last few hours of her life. And then, all that suffering was no more.

Gore: *****
Nausea: *****
Steaminess: *****

3 comentarios:

  1. I hope you'll enjoy listening to the podcast.
    Spirited away
    in Sweden, the same is believed
    Wow, wow, you dirty girl.
    that fairies, trolls, and other spirits take children and maidens away
    being spirited away
    the same appears across languages
    and cultures
    the idea of being spirited away
    Indeed, it's a very interesting concept. I like how Indo-European culture and language have so many things in common.
    many spirited-away people return to the human world ages, maybe centuries, after the spirits took them
    the zeroth woman
    they say God first created Adam and Lilith, then discarded Lilith and created Eve
    Indeed, Lilith. grin emoticona Haha, scary fairy.

    In Nepal, there are the shamans of the forests and the haunting beauties, but nothing of benevolent sort.

    Here, if the child was spirited away, it was the male mystical creatures who did it. They were generally kind with those whom they abducted, and taught them wizardry.
    Lilith: sinister mother: may have inspired the Snow Queen
    I see, sinister thing.
    A mother who feeds her child with poisioned milk?
    Steals a kiss from Kai's lips and freezes his heart emoticona
    then carries him up north
    SurLaLune Fairy Tales: The Annotated Snow Queen
    The following is an annotated version of the fairy tale. I recommend reading the entire story before exploring the annotations, especially if you have not read the tale recently.

    1. But would u prefer to look at my dirty stories?
      I am looking at them, but I am overwhelmed by the huge treasure of lurid tales. Which one you recommend me to read?
      Read them in order
      OKey Dokey Madame.
      Where are you in my treasury of lurid tales?
      Changelings... in Sweden, many a mother has had her child allegedly swapped with a baby troll
      Retardation was one of the signs of a changeling
      many physical and mental disabilities
      it was their way of explaining it
      And ghosts of unchristened infants are also common in Scandinavian lore
      And lost time... in Japanese lore, Taro Urashima returns to the surface world centuries after his descent
      Oh, and freakshows... I think this is cruel to the circus freaks.
      And extravaganzas... ssem more decent to me than freakshows.
      Reading those lurid stories?
      I just began, sorry but I had to go to my evening classes.

      The first one sounds interestingly similar to the death of Tywin Lannister.
      Eglon, eh?
      Only that Eglon is far more slender
      *I meant TYWIN is more slender
      And David reminded me. Much as Solomon is respected in all abrahamic religions, what's up with David.
      the Typo fairy strikes back
      He killed a giant
      he sliced of fthe foreskins of thousands of pagans
      Yes, Goliath, but I mean, how do they see him?
      he became a grrrrilla warrior who inherited the throne when his FIL and (best bro) BIL were killed in action
      You know like Solomon is generally an epitome of a wise ruler.
      David was a man of action
      sometimes, children do not take after their parents
      Only that Eglon is far more slender
      *I meant TYWIN is more slender
      Attack of the Typo Fairy!!!
      Solomon had the Brains, his dad had the Brawn. And the Guts.
      Reading another story?
      OK then, I am reading another story.
      Did u like them so far?
      Like is too weak a word.
      That's more like it.
      And my pun on "sinister"? Got it?
      Did you understand that pun?
      The reason why I said "sinister" in both stories, about Ehud and Joab?
      Why not? Only too well.

      Better call saul is wicked.
      Haha, he was a worthy opponent indeed.
      And my use of the word "sinister"?
      Did you understand the pun?
      Yes, I did, of course I did.
      Aba ma arko padhchhu.
      What is that?
      Oh Goodness know, I, out of excitement, wrote that in Nepali.
      That means:
      Now, I'll read another one.
      Haha, language translator stopped working for a second.
      But, could u explain how u see the pun on "sinister" (to refer to these murderous lefties)?
      Very simply put, lefties are a sinister bunch and it's a sin to use left hand, after all the gut slashing its capable of.
      As a righty, do u think it is better to be dexterous or sinister (when it comes to handedness)?
      Well, I have my rightist loyalties, but you know I am well, be braced to hear. I am ambidexterous, in a way.
      I have mirror hand movements.
      Ever heard of that?
      That's a reason why I type slower.
      On which story r u now?
      Don't make me laugh.
      Let's see if that one makes you laugh...
      So, how do u feel for Loki and Skadi?
      Skadi reminds me of Lagartha the Shield maiden.
      Doesn't she?
      Like tying up Floki...
      in that cave with dripping water drop by drop...
      And Loki's way to make her laugh?
      Amazing, of course.
      Do you also watch Vikings?
      I do
      what do u think of the French plan to defend Paris
      -Tower on Rive Droite/Right Bank?
      -Tower opposite on Rive Gauche/Left Bank?
      And a long big fat chain in between, underwater?
      (No spoilers: mum is halfway through season 4)
      And no spoilers for me as well. I have only finished the first three seasons.
      But Count Otto is a genius, I grant you that.
      So sorry if I spoiled the French defense plan
      Clever Otto!!!
      I meant
      Otto the badass.

    2. Goodness, haha
      Tower on Rive Droite
      Tower on Rive Gauche, facing it
      I would have thought of the fricking same
      It reminds me of something between The Twins and Blackwater defense of KL
      Do u think Skadi gave Loki his just deserts?
      Indeed, it's all so very interesting.

      Incidentally, Lokir's suffering reminds me of Sisiphus or Prometheus, or another one of those tragic Greek figures like Atlas.
      Loki the tragic hero
      On another Norse tale already?
      Curiosity can be such a punishment, can't it?
      Of course, my horse
      On another norse?
      On another story?
      Odin the shitter, haha
      Oy hes
      and his missing left eye
      he gave it for a drink from the Spring of Knowledge
      but that didd not satisfy his thirst for lore

      On that note, who do you think was the wanderer on the third season of Vikings?
      Many tend to think he was Odin, but I would rather he be Loki.
      Was he imssing his left eye?
      Followed by two ravens?
      You know the way he presents himself there, the way he answers their questions.
      No, not quite.
      But he had an alias that is usually taken by Odin.
      I don't remember if he was missing that eye...
      Left eye intact
      Don't we agree?
      Are you now on "URINE A TIGHT SPOT"?
      Which is your favourite among the stories I have gathered so far